The longest time holding the breath underwater was 22 minutes 0 seconds by Severinsen at the London School of Diving in London, UK, on 3 May 2012. He was allowed to hyperventilate with oxygen prior to the attempt, and did this for 19 minutes 30 seconds.
His experience with breath holds began when he as a child played at the bottom of his parent’s pool. He started swimming at the age of 6 and was awarded National Champion four years in a row at the age of 9, 10, 11 and 12. In the years 1993-2003 he played Underwater Rugby where he soon excelled and became part of the Danish national team. During his university studies in Barcelona, Spain (1998–1999), he played Underwater Hockey on the Spanish national team. The fascination of long breath holds under water drew him to the world of freediving.
Combining yoga and his knowledge of physiology in freediving, Severinsen became a record holder of four AIDA Freediving World Records. Forever challenging our perception of the physiological boundaries of the human body, Stig continued to challenge science and performed two impressive Guinness World Records in 2010. In March 2010 he swam 72 meters under ice wearing only swimming trunks and goggles adding 47.6 feet (14.5 meters) to Wim Hof's record from March 2000. Later that year in April 2010 Stig held his breath after inhaling pure oxygen in a tank full of sharks for 20 minutes and 10 seconds emphasizing the enormous potential of human mental control on the body.
Severinsen has developed the concept of breatheology presented in his book. He proposes that by working with your breath you can create a link between your body and mind and thereby control stress, gain more energy, perform better physically and mentally, alleviate pain and become more healthy. He has set up a website (www.breatheology.com) to create a common ground for people interested in learning more about the benefits of breathing and breath holding.
Freediving World Records
Date Record Discipline Location
19 July 2003 166 m Dynamic Apnea without fins (DNF) Aarhus, Denmark
28 Sept 2003 61 m Constant Weight without fins (CNF) Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela
16 June 2007 225 m Dynamic Apnea (DYF) Aarhus, Denmark
7 July 2007 186 m Dynamic Apnea without fins (DNF) Maribor, Slovenia