Your way to optimal well-being via the Buteyko Breathing Method
Eddie Robins interviews Sasha Yakovleva, the co-founder of the Buteyko Breathing Center
Eddie: Sasha, today I want to talk with you about a new and somewhat mysterious program you are about to launch. It is called Buteyko Breath Mastery & International Community. What is the goal of this program, and who is it for?
Sasha: The goal is to benefit Buteyko students worldwide by providing them with ongoing support. This will create a strong foundation for optimal health, longevity, and meaningful life.
Why do you think this program is needed?
The Buteyko method is challenging to apply. We work on mastering breathing and increasing CO2 or prana for the rest of our lives. On this unique journey, Buteyko students can experience all kinds of obstacles, setbacks, lack of motivation, and unexpected turns. If you have a guide and map, you can travel to the destination much faster and feel more comfortable. It’s like taking a taxi versus walking barefoot on a bumpy, muddy road. The Breath Mastery program will act as a taxicab or, perhaps, a fast train.
Watch this interview with Sasha Yakovleva, Advanced Buteyko Breathing Specialist and co-founder of the Buteyko Breathing Center, to learn about Breath Mastery & International Buteyko Community program open to all Buteyko students.
Speaking of a destination… Can you define the destination of the Buteyko journey and what is the goal a participant of this group will aspire to achieve?
The goal of the Buteyko method is to achieve optimal well-being. I deliberately use the word “well-being” instead of “health” because the method impacts not only the body but also all aspects of the system called a “human being.” In fact, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that breath does not affect! By providing tools to use our breath skillfully, the Buteyko method improves all areas of our lives. So, all Buteyko students who aspire to keep making progress, becoming healthier, more energetic, and more capable of helping others, are welcomed.
Is this a new program? Has anything like this been offered before?
Yes and no. In 2021, together with a team, I created a group called Buteyko MasterMind, which became a prototype for this new program Buteyko Breath Mastery & International Community. It was a six-month-long program, which was successful and helpful to the participants. However, it was also intense. I believe Dr. Jesse Steinberg, who was a captain for this vessel, and myself were trying to give people too much. When the program ended, many participants felt they needed a break to implement everything they had learned and process their experiences. I also thought that I needed a break to analyze this program’s pros and cons and find a way to make the new program less intense but more effective, providing Buteyko students with long-term versus short-term support. So, I decided to stop Buteyko MasterMind for a year, which was a good decision!
Now, about a year later, I am happy to announce that a modified and improved version of the Buteyko MasterMind is about to be launched. I feel good about this second incarnation! I am also proud to say that I managed to make the new program affordable, so it can assist more people.
I noticed that you not only changed the name MasterMind to Breath Mastery but added a new phrase to the title – International Buteyko Community” What does this signify?
When I was in elementary school, my class consisted of children from about 25 countries and several continents. Since then, I have learned to appreciate the richness and diversity of an international environment.
The Buteyko Community, which has been created under the virtual roof of the Buteyko Breathing Center, always has been global; however, the Buteyko students have been more connected to the Center than to each other. The Breath Mastery program will create an international network where the community members will assist each other as much as the Center does or, hopefully, even more.
The diverse cultural experiences of the Breath Mastery participants will act as a filter, illuminating the essence of the Buteyko method, which goes beyond any culture. On the other hand, our diverse experiences will enhance the Buteyko techniques, making them easier to understand and apply for various groups and individuals.
Watch this video with Dr. Jesse Steinberg and Sasha Yakovleva about the Breath Mastery program.
I don’t understand your statement. Could you give me an example on how various cultural experiences could make the Buteyko techniques more suitable for some cultures?
Sure. For instance, based on Dr. Buteyko’s work, we know that the gentle extension of exhalation supports the increase of CO2 concentration in the lungs, indicated by Control or Positive Maximum Pause. You would think that if you ask a person to keep lengthening their exhalations, they could quickly increase their CO2, but in reality, it does not work this way. This task is too difficult for most people! So, to overcome this obstacle, various cultures created their own sound-based breathing techniques that act as CO2 boosters. For example, Australians play didgeridoo; in India and Tibet, people chant; in other places, people enjoy whistling, humming, and singing. The goal of all these techniques is the same: to improve people’s well-being; however, the means of achieving it differ. Understanding this helps people to choose an effective Buteyko technique skillfully.
You mentioned Positive Maximum Pause, a type of breathing measurement created by Dr. Buteyko. Will breathing measurements be necessary for the participants of the Breath Mastery program?
Absolutely! We are very fortunate because K.P. Buteyko, MD-PhD, left us an ultimate litmus paper to evaluate breathing and health. It is really simple: if your PMP keeps improving, you are getting healthier and happier; if it goes down, you are worsening your health and shortening your life span. In the Buteyko method, both – progress and regress – are measurable. So, the goal of Breath Mastery is to help Buteyko students on an ongoing basis to keep increasing their PMPs up to 60 seconds and higher. During the previous Buteyko MasterMind program, some participants began experiencing PMP of 100+ seconds, just like Dr. Buteyko did.
Does the Breath Mastery program have a beginning and end?
The program will open its doors to its participants in January 2023. Currently, there are no plans to end this subscription-based program. To participate, a person must commit for three months or a year.
And who is qualified to become a member of this community?
A Buteyko student who completed any Level 1 program is qualified to participate. Level 1 program can be Buteyko Breathing Normalization Training, Breathe To Heal workshop, or Buteyko Breathing Step-by-step video course. People who have taken similar programs from other Buteyko schools are also welcome to participate.
I also would like to mention that the Breath Mastery group is designed to fulfill the needs of Buteyko students of all levels. It will be as beneficial for advanced and intermediate students as well as for relative beginners. I use myself as an example: I am a Buteyko teacher, but at the same time, I am a perpetual student and beginner because every month, I discover something new about the Buteyko method. I will continue learning about the power of breath for the rest of my life and will be glad to share my discoveries with others. I know for sure that many participants of Breath Mastery will be in the same situation.
By the way, I will be the leader of this group; however, the main teacher will be the Group itself. So all of us, leaders, teachers, and participants, will share our knowledge and wisdom and keep each other accountable!
Let’s go back to discussing the Buteyko Community. How would you describe its members?
Many times, working with my clients one-on-one, I found myself thinking, “I appreciate this person so much! I wish I could share this connection with others!”. I feel enormously grateful to my work for providing me with opportunities to connect with highly intelligent, knowledgeable, unique, brave, open-minded, and spiritual people all over the world. The new program will become a network for these beautiful like-minded souls to meet and benefit each other. Using the Buteyko method as our vehicle, we will create a powerful collective field, contributing more peace and harmony to the world.
By the way, this has already taken place during this program’s first incarnation. Many participants of Buteyko MasterMind testified how the program changed their lives, creating a powerful transformation on many levels. Actually, I was one of them!
During that program, several times, my PMP went up to 160 seconds! Before that, I had never experienced such a high number before! This happened because the Buteyko Community kept me motivated and accountable. Every week, I, as well as other members, followed a customized program and reported my results. There was no chance to be lazy! During this training, I began fasting one day every week. I would never be able to do it alone, without the support of the group and my accountability partner. You see, being Russian and Jewish, I greatly appreciate a celebration of a good meal; fasting always had been difficult for me, and therefore I tried to avoid it. When I tried to do it alone, I always found an undisputable excuse to eat something, breaking my fast. However, when I fasted as a part of my program within Buteyko MasterMind, I could not do it because I felt committed to our online community. It worked amazingly well! It was during my fasting days when I experienced the highest-ever PMPs!
This is interesting! I did not know that fasting could be used within the Buteyko method!
The Buteyko method combines two approaches: breathing exercises (when we work with breathing directly) and lifestyle elements (when we impact breathing indirectly through lifestyle changes). After a person’s PMP moves above 20 seconds, fasting (if applied skillfully) becomes an effective technique to increase PMP or CO2 further.
This sounds very technical! My assumption would be that fasting is good or bad for everyone, regardless of their PMPs.
This assumption is incorrect, though very common. The Buteyko method points out that no diet, exercise, or other lifestyle element is good or bad for everyone. The effect is always individual. The Buteyko method allows us to measure the impact of various lifestyle techniques, evaluate their results, and adjust the techniques to the individual needs making them safe and effective.
What is going to be the structure of this program? What should the participants expect?
We will meet once a month for interactive video meetings to receive teachings, share our experiences and help each other. In between, the participants will communicate through a group platform and emails.
In addition, every month, we will hold a Hot Seat when all community members analyze a person’s practice. As a result, the person will leave the virtual room with new insights on accelerating their progress. This part of the program is priceless.
Periodically, we will invite guests: other teachers of the Buteyko method, holistic health professionals, yogis, and other unique and knowledgeable people. I also want to mention that I intend to offer the participants of this group some aspects of Dr. Buteyko’s work that I had never revealed in a group before because I did not feel that people were ready for it.
How did you receive this knowledge?
I spent a lot of time at the Buteyko Clinic in Moscow, primarily with Ludmila Buteyko and her son Dr. Novozhilov, the main heirs and developers of Dr. Buteyko’s original work. Over time, Ludmila Buteyko became my personal friend. During the days we spent together at her villa in Crimea, she passed to me many Buteyko teachings, but some of them I never offered to my students because I felt that they were too radical and challenging to accept. I believe it is time for me to pass them on to others so the teachings stay alive and keep benefiting people.
This is so precious! I believe it will be worth joining this group for that part!
I agree. Before, I would not dare to talk about the most sacred and esoteric parts of Dr. Buteyko’s work, but now I feel different because the Buteyko world is evolving. Years ago, when I began teaching the method, it wasn’t easy to introduce to my students the idea of taping your mouth at night. Taping the mouth? It sounded extreme to them. I had to spend a significant amount of time explaining that it was safe and would help them to improve their breathing. Now, during my Preliminary Consultations, most of my potential students say, “Of course, I am already tapping my mouth!” as it is an accepted thing like brushing teeth. Several years ago, I felt hesitant to discuss some aspects of Dr. Buteyko’s 2nd discovery called Chroniosepsis because they were too far-reaching for people; however, now, during my Private Sessions, I do it regularly because many people have questions about this topic. It is not radical for them anymore! So, I believe that some mature Buteyko students are also ready to learn about other aspects of Dr. Buteyko’s work, for example, regarding sexuality, family, child upbringing, environment, our galactic neighbors, and others. By receiving this knowledge, they will be able to keep it alive and develop it further, preserving it for future generations. It is like candlelight passed from one person to another and then another. It never stops… It makes me feel good just to think about it!
Me too! The Buteyko method is amazingly rich!
Yes! This is why the Buteyko journey never ends! The method is a way to accelerate our personal and collective evolution.
Carbon dioxide is so mysterious! What is it, really? And why does it affects us so significantly?
Dr. Buteyko called CO2 the primary regulator of all body functions. I believe that in India, it was called “prana .” Every old culture had a name for it – some called it “breath of life,” others “chi,” etc. Dr. Buteyko stated that CO2 was a carrier for the holy spirit. Some scientists call carbon dioxide “the gas of life” or a “miracle molecule,” but the mystery remains. It is up to our International Buteyko Community to decipher it.
We recommend watching these videos by the students of Buteyko MasterMind program, the first version of of Buteyko Breath Mastery program: