Culture, Kids

I try: Buteyko Breathing

I’m taking my son on this Buteyko Breathing course this week, to help with asthma, mouth breathing, allergies, snoring, tiredness, and being calm. We pay lots of attention to nutrition but breathing is also really important. It’s so fascinating, and he’s doing all the exercises morning and night which we learned on the course, and I’ll tell you all about it… 

Buteyko Breathing


So, what is Buteyko breathing? It’s a method by Buteyko, a Russian physician in the 1950s, to retrain dysfunctional breathing i.e. OVER-BREATHING back to functional breathing using breathing exercises.

What’s wrong with over-breathing? If we over-breathe, or mouth-breathe, we don’t retain enough carbon dioxide. We need a certain level of carbon dioxide in our lungs and blood vessels to get the oxygen to the cells in our body.

What are some problems of over-breathing, you ask? Disorders such as asthma, snoring, and anxiety, are some of the most common, and also allergic rhinitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), migraines, dental disorders, nasal congestion, bed wetting, chilled fingers or toes, fatigue, nightmares, dry mouth, teeth grinding, panic disorders, etc. are the body compensating for ‘hyperventilation’ or over-breathing.

buteyko poster


You may wish to start with a one-on-one session (around $140) or do a 4-day course like I did with my 5 year old boy during the school holidays as repetition is so great with children learning something new. Also, watching and mimicking the other kids, and doing it together, was really helpful. You can park on the road at the pretty villa house in Ponsonby, and sit in a group with parents and kids together in the clinic room, below. You will receive a workbook with all the theory and a worksheet to record your times for breaths, steps, and pulse.

buteyko exercise sheet

The exercises are a series of holding your nose for as many seconds they can (my son did about 10 seconds), and quiet nose breathing sitting on a chair without distractions, talking, or TV. We had to pretend we were predators like cheetahs sneaking up on our prey with silent breathing.

Below: breathe as quietly as a cheetah!

buteyko cheetah

Below: At Buteyko clinic in Ponsonby, Auckland, with my boy, learning about healthy breathing. He’s holding his nose and counting how many steps he can do up the hallway while holding his breath (result: about 30 steps).


Below: Glen of Buteyko clinic Auckland taking my son’s pulse using a finger clamp. We ideally want our pulse to come down after doing the quiet nose breathing.

glen buteyko pulse

Below: I’m taking my son’s pulse using the traditional wrist method.

buteyko megan pulse

Below: Back at Buteyko Breathing course today with my boy, learning about nose-breathing and how good it is for us. Today we went outside and counted how many steps they could do holding their breath, then they rested for 2 minutes doing nose-breathing, then re-took our pulse.



You can take your pulse using any one of a number of smartphone apps.
Breathe through your nose when doing sports.
While watching TV, keep your mouth closed…parents can turn OFF the TV for 2 minutes if they see a child mouth-breathing! Another tip is a small piece of tape on the lips to keep them aware of keeping their lips closed.


I totally recommend doing the course, and the sooner the better, as it actually could be life-changing for you. We are all so aware of our breath now in our family, and stopping ourselves when we feel a yawn coming and nose-breathing through it instead. I will be carrying on doing the daily hallway and sitting exercises with my son. Lots of people have been asking me about it, so here’s the info and how to book: 20 Arthur Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland 1011, New Zealand Phone +64 9 360 6291 | Email

Megan Robinson
24th July 2016


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