Breathing Tricks that Work


there are no accidents
don't know if this is common knowledge but if you ever find your heart beating too fast for your liking and you can't make it stop:

exhale completely.
exhale again.
inhale slowly, only half way.
repeat until heart rate is lowered. usually within a couple of minutes.

i read it in that James Kelman novel (probably only useful thing i got out of it :()

other similar techniques for this or other type of situations?


Wild Horses
I attended a knife defence workshop earlier this year (as part of expanding my martial arts repotoire) and the guy showed as a really useful exercise to do, should we ever be unlucky enough to get stabbed. Similar to yours, it slows heart rate and controls the panic reaction so you are less likely to spurt blood all over the place. You visualise a square and see your breath tracking round it - first side: exhale, second side:hold, third side: inhale:, final side hold and so on. Repeat till medical help arrives. In the centre of the square, you visualise the person you love the most, the reason you are surviving for to give you the motivation to do whatever is necessary to help yourelf out, even if that's just lying on the floor calming down.

Could talk about breath stuff all day, as I've monkeyed around with pranayama and bodywork therapy stuff derived from Wilhelm Reich's work, but won't be online much I'm afraid. Will do so tomorrow if you are interested.

3 Body No Problem

Well-known member
the guy showed as a really useful exercise to do, should we ever be unlucky enough to get stabbed. Similar to yours, it slows heart rate and controls the panic reaction so you are less likely to spurt blood all over the place.

But does it really work or is it just wishful thinking? I envision ethical problems with empirical investigations here!


is not like other people
what you've never gone for pay back after a deal gone bad waiting in the dark for the right time with glock in hand?


i might try it next time the ticket inspectors get on the overground though


Well-known member
Nice Zhao
I confess to having used a similar, made up in the moment technique after being stabbed twice with one lung collapsing, speeding in taxi enroute to hospital.
Thinking the breath down to something closer to calm ... any small degree closer to calm ...


there are no accidents
that is some crazy shit i hope will never happen to me! but glad you came out of it alright though... if you feel like telling the story, by all means...


Well-known member
Well not to go off 'breathing tricks' -
and there have got to be a few of them, for different situations- long kissing comes to mind -

It was pretty intense turn of events ; picture the Lower East Side , NYC winter 1983 -
young artist /musicians have been moving into the mixed neighborhoods downtown,
pools of real tension between Hispanics and those who might be sporting what we used to call 'Berlin haircuts' ( high back and sides, long in front).
Between 12th & 13th Streets on Avenue A , girlfriend and I enroute to doing music for German designers show at Danceteria during a snowstorm.
'Kids' on the corner throwing snowballs, see us and begin shouting *hit at us ,
then the snowballs begin. Not a big deal I reckon.
We walk on , heading for the corner to catch a cab uptown.
I guess the kids saw some chance to either bother us further or outright mug us , but the 5 or 6 of them came running at us.
Told my lady to go ahead and maybe duck into the deli up the street,
and turned to face the crew now about halfway across the street.
They circle, dancing around shouting and I watch waiting for what's next ...
Seconds later a small knife stabs straight in right side of my chest,
in the melee it registers as a punch or hit.
Then a second time, close to the first.

How to get out of this ? ran into the corner deli and the guys there shut the door behind me.
I hear the kids shout ' Get the girl ...'
Well, no *ucking way that's going to happen , I dash back out through the door
only to find some of the kids waited there to deliver a punch to my right eye, fist full of rings grazing eyeball.
Great ! this is really going well now ...
What to do now ? blood is rapidly filling my eye
I figured the best thing to do then was to get down on ground.
Good, that worked they all ran off.
I got my girlfriend who had ran up the street and hopped in a cab,
hospital luckily only a few blocks away on 16th St. and First Avenue.
Once inside girlfriend was screaming a bit,
alot had just happened very quickly, I went into 'let's get ... calmer' mode,.
Feeling the lung on my right side collapse while still crossing 14th St.,
forced to regulate breathing further as best I could.
Half power ... Gritted teeth ...

Never made it to that show, in hospital a couple days, stitched up,
tube in the lung by far the painful part.

Yeah, culture wars of another stripe '83 LES

Grievous Angel

Beast of Burden
Other breath techniques...

The classic uvaya breath. Breathe through the nose but not just through the nasal passages, go right back into the additional nasal opening into the back of the throat.

The "ten breaths" meditation technique. You don't try to "do" anything but count ten breaths. This is surprisingly hard to do. By the time you get to breath three or four you get so relaxed you tend to lost focus on the breaths and do something else. So start again...


Well-known member
'Ten breaths' can work pretty well,
some little calm sometimes staying with you for a time afterwards
and the more you do it .
So easy for thoughts to drift after 5-6 or so ,
reaching '10' feels good


this is the most interesting thread here in ages and that's a pretty amazing story polystyle.

Bang Diddley

Well-known member
i dont know what it is called but it's widely used in indian culture.

first completely exhale

hold you right hand near your nose and use your forefinger to cover left nostril and inhale slowly through your right nostril for a count of x

hold your breath for a count of x and uncover left nostril

and now put your thumb over your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril for a count of x

where x feels comfortable

do this a few times while focusing on the cyclic nature of the movements

a n d

r e l a x


Wild Horses
that is a mad story Polystyle. Jeezus. NY really was rough back in the day...

The guy on the seminar also gave us a technique for dealing with a collapsed lung from stabbing, but helpfully I can't remember what it was! Will dig around on the net and post if I find it.


Well-known member
Aha ! an actual technique on that huh ?
Hey , we doubt it will happen again but again who knows ?
It was a looong time ago,
a helluva mess in the emergency room,
and in the end the city did pay for all once deemed a 'victim of a crime' and did recover well.
That event did lead to getting out of the city for awhile to W Berlin into working with all kinds of electronic and 'industrial' musicians in the walled city.
A very nice change, lots of positive impacts creatively, great women.


It's all grist
I had a collapsed lung once, but I was just having a shower. And I wasn't doing anything remotely strenuous in there, honestly. I think the worst pain was either when it happened, or when the anaesthetic started to wear off and before they gave me painkillers, but the sensation of the tube being stuffed into the lung was a real ontological headfuck. It was 2 weeks before I worked out what had happened though. I tried to move to Brighton with £100, and spent two weeks doing bongs and sleeping on people's floors, wondering why I had this pain and why I was so short of breath. :eek:

The tube and bottle thing they attach to allow the lung to reinflate looks like a bong too. It was like the Good Lord was taking the piss out of me. Ingenious though.


It's all grist
Well, they say cannabis is for losers, which may explain my habitual use of it, especially since I rarely enjoy it, but i don't think it had anything to do with my spontaneous pneumothorax adventure. They told me it's pretty random (although often occurs in those of an athletic build, which must mean skinny-assed in my case) and rarely happens more than once. Mind you, doctors say that kind of stuff, don't they? I was in my late teens then too...