On the 11.5 hour flight from Los Angeles to Moscow, one of the people I was traveling to Israel with asked me how to stay relaxed during the flight. I gave him a breathing exercise to try that included extending his exhales a bit longer than his inhales. He gave it a few rounds and then let it go, finding it pretty difficult to keep his exhales out.
About a month later, we were both back in LA and I invited him to take one of my public classes. To my surprise, he came. He came to a few other classes after that, too. After his second class, I asked him what he thought about yoga, and joking goaded him, "you love it, don't you?" He responded with, "...I don't know if I like it yet. I can't tell." He explained that he used to run track and didn't get "the whole breathing thing." He agreed to try one more class, so I took him to one that was more advanced than he was ready for. This class, he said, was more challenging than the first two, but he "liked the challenge."
A week after that conversation, I received a text from him saying that he had a "breathing epiphany," that he needed to share with me: The night before he had been drinking and started to get the spins, so he laid down. When he realized his heart rate was beating rapidly, he held his exhales and in a few moments, he had, "cured the spins."
It is always fun to hear about how the techniques we use in the classroom are found to be useful outside of it.