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The Wim Hof Mouth-Breathing Hyper-Ventilation Method

As a teacher of Pranayama Yoga deep-breathing techniques for over a decade, I am regularly asked about a man named Wim Hof and the breath-work practice he has labeled “The Wim Hof Method.” This video is a response to this constant question I am asked, is intended to elucidate my position on the matter, and not meant as an attack on Mr. Hof who I appreciate for bringing widespread attention to the importance of proper breathing. Wim Hof has shown that through prolonged breath-work practice many seemingly super-human feats such as extreme cold resistance and rapid healing of illnesses is possible. The main issue I have with what I call “the Wim Hof Mouth-Breating Hyper-Ventilation Technique” is that he has essentially rebranded a less effective version of the Pranayama Yoga Breath of Fire and given it a new title after his own name calling it “The Wim Hof Method.” To begin with, there are many beneficial breathing techniques known and taught by ancient Yogis for thousands of years, most of them focusing on slow, full, deep inhales through the nose and exhales through the mouth. Wim Hof focuses on only one such technique (the Breath of Fire) and irresponsibly tells everyone to breathe through their mouth! This is absolutely not beneficial for your health/lungs long-term.

“The organs of respiration have their only protective apparatus, filter, or dust-catcher, in the nostrils. When the breath is taken through the mouth, there is nothing from mouth to lungs to strain the air, or to catch the dust and other foreign matter in the air. Moreover, such incorrect breathing admits cold air to the organs, thereby injuring them. Inflammation of the respiratory organs often results from the inhalation of cold air through the mouth. The man who breathes through the mouth at night, always awakens with a parched feeling in the mouth and a dryness in the throat. He is violating one of nature’s laws, and is sowing the seeds of disease. On the other hand, the nostrils and nasal passages show evidence of the careful design of nature in this respect. The nostrils are two narrow, tortuous channels, containing numerous bristly hairs which serve the purpose of a filter or sieve to strain the air of its impurities, etc., which are expelled when the breath is exhaled. Not only do the nostrils serve this important purpose, but they also perform an important function in warming the air inhaled. The long narrow winding nostrils are filled with warm mucous membrane, which coming in contact with the inhaled air warms it so that it can do no damage to the delicate organs of the throat, or to the lungs.” -Yogi Ramacharaka, “The Science of Breath”

Mouth breathing has been proven to increase your risk of contracting communicable diseases, as well as worsening symptoms of pre-existing conditions, and in children has been proven to cause crooked teeth, gum disease, facial deformities and poor growth. Wim Hof should be telling people to ALWAYS breath through their nose except during extreme situations, but instead I have heard him irresponsibly say on many occasions that it “doesn’t matter as long as you get the oxygen in.” Secondly, Mr. Hof should have the humility and reverence to refer people to the Yogic “Breath of Fire” and the thousands of years old discipline of Pranayama, rather than rebranding it “the Wim Hof Method” and acting like he just came up with the science/method himself, when Yogis have been achieving the same feats/healing as he has for thousands of years before he started yelling “breathe motherfucker!” at everyone and propagating his mouth-breathing hyper-ventilation method. Lastly, I call it a “hyper-ventilation” breath, because the Breath of Fire/Wim Him Method is just that: a short, rapid, forceful breathing technique meant to increase internal body temperature for the purpose of burning off toxins and increased cold resistance. This breath has a very specific purpose and is not meant for everyday practice, especially not when inhaling through the mouth. The actual ancient Pranayama Yoga breath-work techniques which are meant for everyday practice involve slow, deep, intentional nasal inhalations filling your entire lung capacity, holding the oxygen long enough to suck out the sustenance, then slowly and fully expelling the resulting carbon dioxide out orally. To learn exactly how and why you should practice proper, effective breathing completely free, please follow the link in the description box to article and videos series entitled, “The Most Important Thing in Your Life.” Thank you.

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