Buteyko Breathing Exercises: How To Do Them

Five Easy Steps To Do Buteyko Breathing Exercises

Many people write to me and ask how to do Buteyko Breathing Exercises, specifically Breath Holds. Today I will explain how to do them and also will demonstrate them.

If you are not working with a Buteyko Breathing Practitioner, be very careful since it is not easy to do Buteyko breathing exercises correctly without anyone observing your respiration. To prevent possible mistakes, I suggest doing all breathing exercises gently. Remember the rule: never apply violence towards your body, especially towards your breathing – your main life force!

During a session of breathing exercises, which usually lasts 30 minutes, you need to sit in a comfortable place where no one will disturb you. Pay attention to your posture: your shoulders should be open, and your back should be straight. At the same time, this position should not create any tension in your body and should feel comfortable.

During the whole session, you will need to breathe normally. What does it mean? It means that you should practice invisible breathing: when you inhale or exhale, your chest and shoulders should not move, your belly can move a little. It might take you a while to be able to breathe invisibly; meanwhile, keep making a gentle effort to train yourself to breathe normally.

Also, listen to your breathing: your respiration should be quiet. If it is not silent, practice breathing quietly prior to start practicing Breath Holds. Needless, to say that you should keep your mouth completely closed during the whole session. Buteyko Breathing exercises are always accompanied by nose breathing only. Please refrain from talking to anyone.

Here are the instructions on how to do Buteyko Breathing exercises:

1. Measure your Control Pause.
If you don’t know how to do it, please click here to learn.

2. Gently inhale, exhale, and firmly pinch your nostrils to stop breathing. If your Control Pause is 6 seconds, stop breathing for 3 seconds. If this duration feels stressful, then switch to a shorter Breath Holds – 1 or 2 seconds. Please keep in mind that stress is counterproductive to breathing improvement; the Buteyko Breathing exercises should create relaxation, not trauma and anxiety.

3. After completing the Breath Hold, open your nose and breathe normally for 1 minute. Then, do another Breath Hold. You will need to repeat this breathing exercise every minute.

What to do during this minute in between Breath Holds? This is an essential question! Often people perceive this minute just as waiting time and get impatient for it to be over. This is wrong since this minute in between Breath Holds is a Buteyko Breathing Exercise on its own. Always keep in mind that Dr. Buteyko described the central element of his method as relaxation. This minute should be used to scan your body for tension and relax it. If you feel increasingly relaxed during each consecutive minute in between Breath Holds, you are doing the breathing exercises correctly.

If you are having difficulties relaxing, I recommend starting your breathing session by listening to Breathing Normalization Meditations, especially the first one of this series. Close your eyes and listen to this guided meditation before you start doing Breath Holds. It will help you to relax at the same time maintaining reduced breathing. Try to come back to the same mental and physical state during each minute in between Breath Holds.

4. When you complete the session of breathing exercises, wait for a minute or two, and measure your Control Pause again. As usual, you need to do it gently.

5. Then, compare this Control Pause with the one you took before the session. Is it higher, lower, or the same? Here is an example: if your Before-Control Pause was 6 seconds and your After-Control Pause is 10 seconds, the result is positive. An increased Control Pause indicates breathing improvement.

Control Pause always should rise as a result of breathing exercises. If it does not, most likely, you did something incorrectly. In this case, I suggest seeking the help of a Buteyko Breathing Specialist.

Enjoy Buteyko Breathing Exercises. Keep strengthening your health. Always breathe peacefully!

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