Aug 10: Breath Control & Intro to Freediving: Seminar at UCSF

Join me and Professor Kevin Yackle at UCSF Mission Bay for a seminar on breath work and intro to freediving, 4:30-6:30 on Th Aug 10, 2017. Limited spots available (including by video). Please RSVP to me, rlee at

4:30-5:15 Breath Work

5:15-6:30 Apnea (up to 3 minutes)

Conference Room: Genentech Hall S261.

Google Hangout:

If you are not familiar with UCSF campus, I suggest you meet me at The Pub at 4PM so I can take you to the conference room. There is free parking several blocks away at/near 16th Street. Otherwise use the meters or parking garage. Some of us may get dinner after.

The Pub, 1675 Owens St, San Francisco, CA 94158

More info here:

And here:

Here is a prologue to the seminar:

ZERO What Scared the Fearless Woman?

“What Scared the Fearless Woman?” was a 2013 story on NPR’s Science Friday. The story described a paper in Nature Neuoroscience that studied patients with a condition that causes atrophy of the brain’s amygdala center. The amygdala is a corpus that mediates fear and other emotions in humans. Thus it was believed that these patients had lost the ability to feel fear. An article in The Guardian describes the same study:

The patient known as S.M. has not experienced fear since she was a child, and has fascinated brain researchers for many years. In 2010, one team noted that she makes risky financial decisions in experimental economics games, because she isn’t afraid of losing money. Another tried everything they could to frighten the life out of her – but failed. They showed her clips from some of the scariest horror films ever made, asked her to handle large spiders and snakes, and took her to a haunted house. On no occasion did she show the smallest sign of fear, even when faced with traumatic events and potentially life-threatening threats.

The experimenters placed the patient on a breathing mask that simulated suffocation. Within seconds, S.M. started to waive and scream. To the surprise of the experimenters, and S.M. herself, it turns out that she was capable of experiencing fear, even outright panic, but only with respect to this one stimulus.

Upshot— the drive to breathe in humans is so fundamental and atavistic that it invokes an entirely different, and more basic pathway of fear than other stimuli associated with danger. And this is why exploring the nature of breathing and learning to “breathe better”, as we will do in this document, can be a unique and profoundly powerful way of managing fear and anxiety. At the end, we will also explore the challenge of learning to arrest that breathing— that is, holding our breath. Should you choose to try this extended breath holding (called voluntary apnea), you will experience a unique challenge that can result in powerful benefits for your confidence, literally on an existential level, and your peace of mind.