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Sarah C Yoga Group

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Buteyko Breathing 101


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However, I was still puzzled. Why had my yoga teachers emphasized the importance of increasing breath capacity Why had my breathing practices been focused on breathing longer and larger How could I make sense of this ancient tradition that I so trusted and believed in for most of my life, in the face of this new information that seemingly defied all I had been taught I was concerned for my therapy clients and students. The difference in my own health was revelatory. Coughing: gone. Snoring: gone. Energy: up four-fold. Weight: down 15 lbs with no effort. These were not minor changes. I needed to know more, be better equipped so I could ensure I was teaching the breath safely and not leading my clients astray.


I read every book I could find on Buteyko. I studied information on line. One night at one a.m., with my new found energy I combed the internet with the key words: Buteyko and Yoga, curious to see if I was the only one who ever tried to make sense of the ancient pranayama practices and this new (to me) approach to breathing. I found Artour Rakhimov. Immediately I ordered his book. I appreciated that he was well researched on yoga and the depth of his reference materials. I began to do research in the yoga texts in my own library: original texts, ones that pre-date what we consider Modern Yoga by thousands of years. In these I found solace. The ancient masters understood about less. Their instructions on breathing emphasized subtlety and retention. They also emphasized the importance of practicing four to six times a day, not once in the morning or before bed as I had been taught. Almost verbatim the instructions on pranayama mimicked the instructions I learned through my Buteyko teachers:


This is how I hold the merging of these two traditions now. I continue to study and practice intensively. My students are all now well-acquainted with Breath Hygiene and in my small yoga world, deep breathing has been all but abolished. I see the subtle nostril techniques that are frequently used (closing one nostril or another) as another version of reduced breathing. My students and therapeutic clients have unanimously responded positively and have appreciated how much difference the lesser breath has made in their lives. My current mission is to push forward with this information and educate my colleagues in the world of yoga therapy. It is my hope that they too will transform the way in which they are transmitting the teachings of pranayama and breathing so it is more in alignment with the original teachers of yoga, in alignment with optimum health, and also with the beautiful offering passed down through the lineage of Buteyko.


Buteyko is a method of breathing that decreases the respiration rate, that is reducing the number of breaths taken each minute to slow the breathing and ensure that inhalation occurs solely through the nose.


It emphasizes the effortless quiet breathing completed by healthy individuals. This method uses the addition of a controlled pause following exhalation to train the respiratory system to take in less air and calm the breath. Buteyko breathing is similar to other yogi breathing techniques as it directs the breath aligning the mind and body. It utilizes a controlled pause which is timed to understand the respiratory capacity better and manipulate the oxygen dissociation curve to attain maximal health benefits.


In 1956, Dr. Buteyko observed that healthy and unhealthy people have different breathing patterns. He noticed that less salubrious people tend to breathe with their mouths open and have an increased respiration rate. These observations were more concerning during sleep. Dr. Buteyko developed a breathing technique that focussed on controlling the ratio of inhalation to exhalation to teach individuals to manage their breath. This technique has been shown to help those suffering from asthma, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.


The physiological adaptations caused by this breath-holding technique a




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