Buteyko Breathing

“Breathe from the belly,” I’ve heard in yoga classes over the years. I take one or two deep breaths, fill up my belly and let it out, feeling like that was a lot of effort. I don’t know what you mean! Or how to sustain it! And it’s annoying to try.

Running through life, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or just facing the rigors and pace of our society, many of us become chest breathers. Shallow, shallow, breaths, ready, ready, alert for perceived danger. Prepared for fight or flight.

The kids’ martial arts school is offering a class on Buteyko Breathing. It is said to correct the CO2 deficiency most of us chest breathers have. Learning this method of breathing (or re-learning it, since most babies belly breathe naturally) is said to help the body systems operate more efficiently, reduce stress, snoring, it’s BIG for helping asthma, and all kinds of mouth related troubles including crooked teeth and plaque, etc.

It sounds crazy, how could breathing differently help so much, air is air, but then again. Breathing is the thing isn’t it? It’s THE THING. When we no longer do it, we no longer exist in this physical realm. How could it not be important?   

So the first week, in an effort to retrain our bodies to breath through our noses, and stop giving up too much of our precious CO2, the instructor asked us to use paper tape to seal our mouths shut before bed! This allows our bodies to get in the habit of nose breathing, and thus belly breathing.  

As a long suffering significant other of a person who snores, WHY HAD I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?

Not a peep out of my sexy taped up man!

The kids slept like little cherubs. Seth is usually a very restless sleeper, up a couple of times a night, but he did great!

Me? I felt like I was gonna die!

I slept like crap. Kept waking up feeling suffocated. Wanted to rip that tape off. I am not used to breathing through my nose. Not used to it at all.

Then, around 7:00AM, I slightly woke, not quite awake, still dozing really, and I realized I was belly breathing. It felt like a bellows blowing air in and out, all the way down to my hip bones, it felt perfect, and soothing, no effort at all. This is how you breathe?


I spent the day yesterday, consciously breathing through my nose and not my mouth, and despite being sleep depreived, I had a good day. 

Last night was the second night, and I did much better. No suffocating feelings.

We’ll see how it goes.  

And if my kids tell you I tape their mouths shut, believe them.

It’s for their own good.

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13 Responses to Buteyko Breathing

  1. Lydia says:

    Michelle, what’s your email address? I want to ask you about something 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    WHERE’S THE GAFFA TAPE??! Hot hubs is getting taped tonight!

    I learned to belly breathe when I sang in the church choir as a kid. We had to practice breathing in front of a mirror so our shoulders didn’t move – never knew it helped out in so many other ways 🙂

  3. Kim says:

    This makes so much sense to me. I don’t know if I could tape my mouth shut all night though. I have really narrow nasal passages (really, just ask my doc! he guessed I was a mouth breather when he looked up my nose!) and feel as though I can’t get enough air when I breath through my nose.

    My husband has pretty big nostrils though and he SNORES, wonder if he’d let me tape his mouth shut tonight…

  4. amber says:

    I need this. Must find my tape.


  5. kario says:

    I love it! Back to basics, huh? I, too, learned to belly breathe in choir and I know that when I’m going nuts, it’s my first line of defense.

    Can’t wait to hear how the third night goes.

  6. What a great idea! Glad it’s helping.

  7. Michelle O'Neil says:


    Me too with the narrow passageways. The teacher of this class swears that will change. I’ll keep you posted.

    The kids crack me up. Last night tucking then in,

    “Wait! You forgot my tape!”

    They are 100% on board.

    Also, the tape isn’t forever, just a week or two while we retrain.

  8. Michelle O'Neil says:

    Also, if anyone should want to try this, make sure you use paper tape, put chap stick on before taping and wet it with a warm washcloth in teh morning before peeling it off gently.

  9. Kathryn says:

    I am going to try doing this after my 9 minute caribbean ocean listen. I just caught up with your last 3 posts! As always, wonderful. Thanks for sharing your life. Love.

  10. 2 for 1 – it’s a hair remover, too!

    Gonna have to try this for myself – during the day though.

  11. Courtney says:

    And now another thing I will be obsessed with!

  12. sarah says:

    oh my heavens!! you put tape over your mouth?? that’s intense!! wowee wowee wowee!

    good luck, belly breather!

  13. Carrie Link says:

    OMHOG, how’d I miss this? I need tape on STM’s mouth, STAT!

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