by Sasha Yakovleva
Co-Founder, Breathing Center
Meeting each other ignited an immediate spark. Thomas and I madly fell in love, and two weeks later we were engaged. For our honeymoon, we went to Hawaii where both of us caught exotic flu. After struggling for a while, I recovered, but Thomas has not. The virus turned his mild asthma into a severe disease rendering him disabled.
Neither conventional nor alternative medicine was capable of stopping his breathlessness, cough, mucus, wheezing, and fatigue. There was no hope, but we kept praying. Being Russian, I have heard about the Buteyko method but wasn’t thinking about it until a friend said, “Call Clinica Buteyko! Now!” I did. Soon after, we flew to Moscow. Breathing exercises improved Thomas’ condition and eventually ended his respiratory problems. I also practiced reduced breathing: it stopped my joint pain, kidney issues, headaches, and allergies; it made me feel and look younger.
Founders of Clinica Buteyko in Moscow requested Thomas and me to represent the Buteyko Method in the English-speaking world. The method was gaining popularity but often was presented incorrectly, generating undesirable results. We agreed to teach Buteyko Breathing Normalization. To master it, we made several trips to Russia and Ukraine and became the first westerners who received the method in its complete form.
Despite a common belief, breathing less is not an easy task; it requires knowledge, mindfulness, patience, and discipline. Just as you cannot become a martial artist within a weekend, it takes time to learn Buteyko. Since 2009, I trained thousands of people around the globe. My experience shows that the most efficient way to learn it is one-on-one, in person or online, for two months or longer. My students shared incredible stories of their recoveries from various ailments; you can find them on our website.
For more than twenty-five years, I have been studying holistic healing modalities and practicing meditation and yoga. For me, Breathing Normalization is not just another technique to advance body, mind, and spirit but a unifying factor for everything I have learned. It is also the most effective approach I ever came across. It does not reject any modern or ancient techniques but makes them more efficient by using respiration as a litmus paper for progress.
In 2017, Thomas died from liver cancer: he had been struggling with liver problems since his youth. The Buteyko method did not save his life but made it longer and improved its quality on all levels. I ended up being a channel for Dr. Buteyko’s work as well as of other doctors, scientists and health enthusiasts who realized the power of breathing. My Buteyko journey, initially sparked by love, continues rewarding me with a precious opportunity to share my passion by helping people to get better.