In a talk recorded for TEDMED back in October 2009, famed magician David Blaine gave a lecture on how he was able to hold his breath for 17 minutes.
To put this extremely dangerous and life-threatening “trick” into context, the average human being can hold his breath for only 3 minutes. At 6 minutes, doctors warn that the brain is subjected to severe damage. His lecture is interesting to watch because he survives to tell about the step by step process of his body breaking down and what it feels like right before he blacks out or gets a heart attack. More than magic, Blaine tries to push the physical boundaries of his body, many times on the edge of death:
Wow, even the slightest movements like moving your fingers, put you at higher risk for carbon dioxide poisoning. Call it incredibly courageous, or incredibly stupid, you gotta give him some street-cred for his spectacle-factor.
Again, unless you have a team of distinguished doctors who specialize in breath holding–DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Because I did, and I failed after 2 minutes.