“You do not start apnea training until you have the urge to breathe.” Ricardo Taveira reminded us of this for perhaps the 10th time while my classmates and I were lying on our backs a minute into breath hold training, trying to think of anything other than breathing.
In its simplest terms, Apnea is holding your breath (once you stop inhaling). We do not actually have an urge to breathe immediately when we close our airway. We only feel the urge to breathe when the CO2 levels in our body increase. Eventually, that CO2 increase will trigger diaphragm contractions, which is actually when the urge to breathe sets in. If you have the proper techniques and knowledge, you can resist that urge to breathe safely for a surprising amount of time.