There are three basic steps towards breath retraining:


✦   Step One

Become very aware of your breathing.  Feel, watch and listen to your breathing  as much as you can during the day, paying particular attention to what causes you to take big breaths.

Ask yourself some  questions.  Is your breathing  a still, silent activity or does it involve large inhalations  and body movements?  Are you going  about your daily activities with your mouth  open? Do you take a big breath as you stand up from your chair or before talking? Do you heave big sighs, yawn or sniff regularly? Do you wake in the night  or early morning with a dry mouth?  Is your nose blocked when you wake or do you wake feeling that you have not had a good night’s sleep?

Only when you have become aware of your bad breathing can you take steps to correct it. During  our clinics, we outline  people’s breathing  traits. More  often  than  not  they are  totally unaware  of  these  and  while  some  people  find them alarming, more often most find them quite amusing.

Awareness of our own incorrect  breathing  can also be increased by observing other people who are perhaps breathing with their  mouths  open, panting  when  shopping,  or at bus stops; it is also possible to notice  a person’s breathing characteristics  over the telephone.  Even though  all of these people may seem to enjoy good health, many of those who have bad breathing  actions may already have or are likely to develop health problems in the future.


✦   Step Two

Learn to breathe through  your nose. Breathing through  your nose at all times is the correct and only way to breathe.

Some people seem  to spend  most  of their  lives with a blocked nose  and  many  have tried,  without  success, every nasal spray and  therapy  on the  market.  In this book those very people will be taught  an effective exercise for unblocking the nose in a matter of minutes. This will be the first step on the road to permanent and comfortable nasal breathing.


✦   Step Three

It has already been explained how the respiratory centre can accept a low level of carbon dioxide as the norm, despite the stress it may place on various organs. All the breathing  exercises featured that we use involve breathing  less air than the body has become accustomed  to. Over time this helps reset the respiratory system to accept the higher  levels of carbon dioxide  that  it  really  should  have.  Remember,  when  the volume of air breathed  in is reduced  the carbon dioxide in the  lungs  accumulates  and  this  in  turn  will readjust  the carbon dioxide threshold.

When asked for a simple definition of his theory, Professor  Buteyko said  it is this:  the  reduction  of the  depth  of breathing   by the relaxation  of  the  respiratory  muscles  to create  a little  air  shortage.  Two words  he  directed  at  his patients   were  ‘breathe  less’. This  is the  very  essence  of Buteyko breathing.

Throughout this blog each exercise and how it should be practised  will be examined.  However, it is important to always be aware of what is being achieved and why. Remember that overbreathing will trigger asthma and the intention is to learn to breathe  a more  correct volume by relaxation. Breathing   can  primarily  be  reduced   by  relaxing  all  the muscles involved in respiration.  It is very important to relax the muscles because increased  tension  leads to overbreathing, reduces blood flow and therefore  oxygenation.

A  quote  from  sixth  century  BC  philosopher   Lao Tzu states: ‘The perfect man breathes  as if he does not breathe.’ Through   the   Buteyko Method   the   individual   learns   to breathe in a calm, silent and still manner.

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