Breathe as a Free Person: Thich Nhat Hanh and Buteyko

Saying Goodbye to the Master of Perfect Breathing

Watch this video with Thich Nhat Hanh teaching how to breathe as a free person. On January 22, this precious Master of mindful breathing and peaceful living passed away at the age of 95. During his long, healthy, and meaningful life, he helped countless individuals.

I assume this Vietnamese monk never heard about the work of the Russian/Ukrainian physiologist K.P. Buteyko MD. Yet, his own breathing and his teachings on breathing were one hundred percent in tune with the Buteyko Breathing Method.

While watching this video, please notice how Thich Nhat Hanh breathes. His respiration is a perfect example of Healthy Breathing, as described by Dr. Buteyko:

  1. His breathing is invisible (his upper torso does not move)
  2. His breathing is silent (you cannot hear his inhales or exhales)
  3. While talking, he inhales perfectly through his nose (no mouth-breathing is present)


Overall, he breathes like “a little mouse” to use Dr. Buteyko’s term. Lao Tzu used a different description for the same type of breathing. “A perfect man breathes as he is not breathing,” he said.

This monk’s breathing was flawless because he fully implemented the ancient knowledge about breathing and spirituality, in his case framed in the tradition of Vietnamese Buddhism. By the way, according to Dr. Buteyko, one cannot achieve perfectly wholesome breathing without practicing some form of spirituality. Therefore, when I work with my clients who took the Buteyko Breathing Normalization Training, I always discuss spirituality and how to merge it with the Buteyko breathing exercises; I also help my clients to turn their existing spiritual practices into breathing exercises (watch a testimonial about this).

In this video, you will receive the priceless ancient teaching on breathing that made Thich Nhat Hanh’s own breathing perfectly wholesome. You will learn how to use your breath to ground your body and stop anxiety, how to create joy and happiness, reduce pain, and (even more importantly) how to breathe and feel like a free person.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s life was an example of peace, meaning, generosity, and altruism – the qualities Dr. Buteyko described as a natural outcome of perfect breathing. This is why many (if not all) genuine spiritual traditions used gentle breathing as a tool for accelerating personal evolution to become a better, less selfish, less conditioned, and freer person.

Peaceful breathing cannot coexist with anger, jealousy, ill-will, and war, which incarcerate us in our minds and make us suffer. These defilements simply cannot survive wholesome breathing. Thank you, the Guru of Perfect Breath, for bringing this important message to all of us during these turbulent times in the world when hyperventilation prevails. For as long as over-breathing is our standard, peace cannot be. This message goes beyond the limitations of time and countries. No matter whether you are American, Vietnamese, Russian, or Ukrainian, a victory over heavy, ferocious breathing is equally important and effective for anyone in the world.

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