How to do the Buteyko Breathing Exercises

The Buteyko Breathing method helps to improve the oxygenation in the body. The rate of breathing is a reflection of your body’s overall health. Chronic hyperventilation can decrease your health and an increase in health will slow down your rate of breathing.

Some people have discovered that Butyeko breathing exercises have helped to cure their asthma, decrease depression, lose weight, improve energy levels and sleep quality.

Some Buteyko breathing practitioners will make the exercises sound a bit more complicated than they actually are. Often you can learn them on your own and incorporate them into your daily life.

Learn the Control Pause

The first thing that you should do is to learn the control pause. It will give you an indication of where your overall health is.

The control pause is simple. While sitting with good posture, breathe in through your nose. Exhale comfortable and time yourself until you feel the first urge to breathe. The number that you get in seconds is your control pause.

You can watch a quick video on the Control Pause here:




Buteyko Table of Health

Once you know your control pause, you can set goals to increase it. If you check out the Buteyko Table of health, you can get an idea of your current state of health.

I have found this table very useful in eliminating my seizures. When my control pause is around 60 seconds, I don’t have neurological problems. However, if I eat junk and get stressed out and my control pause drops to around 25, I can tell that I have more neurological instability. I also start to have issues with my asthma and allergies.

Image source: Normal Breathing

Level 1: Corresponds to severely sick and terminally ill patients. A stress free control pause will be less than five seconds.

Level 2: Corresponds to severely ill patients. The control pause is less than ten seconds. These patients require numerous types of medication to prevent symptoms and complaints. Walking up stairs can be difficult due to heavy breathing and low body oxygenation.

Level 3: 10-20 second control pause. These patients do not have a life threatening illness, but their main concern is symptoms. Taking medication is common. For these patients physical exercise is often very difficult. Walking can result in heavy breathing. Efficiency and performance in certain areas is compromised.

Level 4: The control pause is 20-30 seconds. There is no need for medication, however there are a number of health pathologies which can include gastritis, IBS, IBD, arthritis, osteoporosis and hormonal and metabolic issues. Correlates with the initial stages of cancer.

Level 5: Normal breathing frequency of 12 breaths per minute. Individuals are able to run with strictly nasal breathing and take cold showers. They have a good quality of sleep and are reasonably able to function socially.

Level 6: The Buteyko standard of health. At this level, individuals are free from over 200 chronic conditions. Healthy individuals have no more than 8 breaths per minute at rest.

Level 7: Individuals enjoy and crave physical activity. They are full of energy. Standing throughout the day is easy and natural. Sleep is less than 5 hours.

Level 8-10: States of super health. Students of Buteyko Breathing report appearance of lost amazing abilities of the body. For example, a reduction to 2 hours of perfect sleep for those who have 2 minutes of control pause. No cavities, extrasensory abilities and super consciousness.

Most Buteyko breathing students will be able to achieve level 5 or level 6 of health on their own. You may need to work with a practitioner and change your diet to achieve the super health levels.

Buteyko Breathing Steps Exercise

This exercise is great for the average person to incorporate in their daily life. Mim Beim explains it in the video below. Breathe in, breath out and then count how many steps that you can take while you are holding your breath.




Buteyko Breathing Exercise Techniques

Patrick McKeown does a great job instructing students on how to breathe properly. You should focus on the following things during buteyko breathing exercises:

  1. Good posture
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing
  3. Breathing through the nose ONLY
  4. Slowing down your breath
  5. Softening your breathing
  6. Hold your nose while you breathe during the exercise




Stress makes people sick. It increases your breathing and decreases the oxygenation level in your body. You can slow down the breath to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. You can bring your body from a sympathetic tone to being switched off by slowing down the breath. It is the opposite of the deep breath that is normally instructed.

It is vital to breathe through the nose to counter stress. Make sure that you are not holding your breath until your body is very stressed out. This can be counter-productive.

When learning and implementing the Buteyko breathing exercises, the most important thing to do is to focus on breathing through your nose 24/7. This will help your body to normalize the oxygenation levels in your body. Once you are breathing through your nose throughout the whole day and night, you will notice that your health starts to improve.

3 thoughts on “How to do the Buteyko Breathing Exercises”

  1. Thanks a lot for doing this article and I am glad that you wrote about this type of exercise that can easily be done at home. Thanks also for the information on what we need to know if we are doing alright or that we need to improve. I really never heard of the Buteyko breathing exercise but I might try this out. Thanks again.

  2. Wow, this isn’t a bad idea at all for getting good health. When one thinks about it, breathing is a very integral part of our daily life. As a matter of fact, it is underrated. Its the first time I’m hearing of the buteyko breathing exercise. I think I should try it out. I have learnt that it is all about taking time to breathe slowly which can inturm keep us healthy. I am hoping you can add up on the benefits of the exercise. I’ll watch this videos and more and see how it helps me. Thabks

  3. Wow! Some nice discoveries I have made here through this post concerning the buteyko breathing exercises. To be honest, I didn’t know anything concerning this exercise before but having read through this, it seems very interesting to know of. Breathing through the nose and maintaining only that after and during the routines. That is great and I think this would help more like a cardio. Thanks and I will surely look forward to trying all I have read here out myself.

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