Breathing & Health

"The perfect man breathes as though he is not breathing" 

Lau Tzu

Healthy breathing is simple. Firstly it complies with the physiological norms for ventilation i.e. 3 - 4 litres per minute at rest. Above this amount is called hyperventilation and has a poisonous effect on the organism – below this amount is called hypoventilation, an occurrence so rare to be insignificant for the purposes of this discussion.

The person who breathes optimally will have, by average standards, some apparently strange tendencies. Firstly, they don’t suffer with any of the “diseases of civilization”. Physically they tend to be lean and muscular, regardless of their level of activity. They eat sparingly and prefer simple food. They sleep less, around four hours a day - they can relax easily. Their level of energy is consistent and their stamina significantly above average. They enjoy physical activity. Their posture is naturally elongated.

Their physical attributes are only one aspect. From a mental and philosophical perspective, they tend to be logical and calm – they are not given to paranoia, deep smouldering anger, or greed. They can happily sustain intensive concentration with little effort and do not oscillate between depression and unrealistic or false enthusiasm. Their natural demeanour reflects ease.

It should be noted that an adult, who breathes optimally is very rare in modern Western society. But throughout history there have been sages of all traditions that reflect the principles of optimal breathing.

Healthy or optimal breathing is at the heart of the Buteyko Method. What we routinely see in those who practice the method diligently, is clear incremental improvement in health, starting with the liquidation of chronic disease along with sublime shifts in mentality.

There can be the temporary absence of obvious disease, there can be excuses for disease - but there cannot be health without a corresponding healthy breathing pattern. This is just a simple law of nature.