the "focused breath", with breath hold/valsalva maneuver alternating with hyperventilation does produce results, and we used to think they were spiritual effects.
I did a brief google search on self-induced hypocapnia and here's a tidbit:
The second mechanism requires hyperventilation (forced overbreathing) until symptoms of hypocapnia such as tingling, light-headedness or dizziness are felt, followed by a breath-hold. This alone is enough to cause a blackout, but it is widely believed that the effect is enhanced if lung air pressure is increased by holding the breath "hard" or "bearing down" (tightening the diaphragm as in a forced exhalation while allowing no air to escape or having an assistant apply a bear-hug). These latter actions may augment the effects of hypoxia by approximating the Valsalva maneuver, causing vagal stimulation.
The hyperventilation leads to an excessive elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) whereas no significant additional amounts of oxygen can be stocked in the body. As only carbon dioxide is responsible for the breathing stimulus, after hyperventilation, breath can be held longer until cerebral hypoxia occurs. The blood also becomes abnormally alkaline as a result of the excessive elimination of carbon dioxide; this subsequent rise in blood pH is termed alkalosis. Alkalosis interferes with normal oxygen utilization by the brain. The symptoms of alkalosis are: neuromuscular irritability, muscular spasms, tingling and numbness of the extremities and around the mouth, and a dizziness, or giddiness, often interpreted as a sense of euphoria.
In the body alkalosis generally induces vasodilatation (widening of the blood vessels) but in the brain alone it causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). This vasoconstriction appears to be made even worse by a sudden increase in blood pressure caused by squeezing or holding the breath ‘hard’. The alkalosis induced euphoria can be followed rapidly by hypoxia-induced unconsciousness. The sequence of events leading to unconsciousness from hyperventilation is as follows:
1.Decrease in partial pressure of alveolar CO2.
2.Decrease in partial pressure of arterial CO2.
3.Increase in blood pH, (respiratory alkalosis).
4.Vasoconstriction of blood vessels supplying brain.
5.Pooling of the blood present in the brain at the time.
6.Brain rapidly uses up oxygen (O2) available in the pooled blood.
7.O2 concentration in the brain drops.
8.Unconsciousness from hypoxia of cerebral tissue.
Because the brain cannot store reserves of oxygen and, unlike other organs, has an exceedingly low tolerance of oxygen deprivation, it is highly vulnerable if vasoconstriction is not reversed. Normally, if the brain is hypoxic, autonomous systems in the body divert blood to the brain at the expense of other organs; because the brain is vasoconstricted this mechanism is not available. Vasoconstriction is only reversed by the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood through suspension of breathing.
In any case, the combined effects of central hypoxia and hypocapnia are nothing to fool with. Our bodies are programmed to shut down and compensate when homeostasis is violated. So we pass out, "go to the Void" often with a falling sensation (vagaling out), and return to a very altered internal environment in the brain, and a body that feels like it's electrically charged. This is the physical sensation of alkalosis. Often there is overall soreness in the muscles afterward.
You can interpret it as a spiritual experience if you like. You can induce this state in others too by various means. The kids these days call it "the choking game".
The moral of the story here is that we could have obtained these effects for free in a schoolyard at recess, rather than paying a grand for the privilege. Of course, there was some kickass music involved and a great sound system at R$E, maybe that was the value added?
In any case, I'm just throwing this out there, in case any former students still attach meaning to experiences had during C&E. I hope it wipes some dust off the lens for you.
as a nurse I was questioning the effects of c&e and as an observer during C&E I just saw too many people displaying the above described effects..... especially with elderly or sick people or with pregnant women it was obvious that it didn't do them any go.
I for myself developped a deep thrombosis is my arm, which started to manifest during a c&e session.
lengthy periods of sitting in the triad, poor hydration, and endless cycles of power breaths, which increase intra abdominal pressures, add up to an increased risk of MI and CVA for those who are at risk, esp. if those folks have been convinced not to take meds, ASA therapy, stop smoking, etc etc.
I've been thinking about other disciplines and practices at events that are risky too, over and above the obvious, (like having blindfolded people run at each other across a field). In retrospect, I'm surprised folkies haven't died at the ranch more often. Wonder if there were coroner's reports for the ones who did.