Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher around the time of 500 years Before Christ. He made many profound statements but one has particular relevance to us. He said that The perfect man breathes as if he does not breathe
What did he mean by this? Let us investigate.
In order to live, the three ingredients of water, food and air are vital. Of the three which is more important?
We can live without food for weeks, we can live without water for days and we can live without air for just a few minutes. How important each element is can be determined by how long we can live without it. Air therefore is so much more important than either food or water.
As humans, we can eat too much or too little food, we can drink too much water which washes out essential minerals or we can drink too little water resulting in dehydration.
Regarding air, we are aware of the importance of air quality. If we live in smog, pollution or inferior air it has a negative impact to our health. But what about the quantity of air? How much air should we breathe each minute?
To answer this look at the breathing of a healthy young baby. The first thing to notice is that breathing is through the nose all the time. The second point is that the chest is still while the little tummy moves gently up and down. The third point is that breathing is effortless. While the rate will be quicker than an adults, breathing will be quiet and calm.
Good breathing is when the mouth is closed and is silent during rest. Children breathe so quiet that we are unable to hear it. Good breathing is regular, calm without sighs and sniffs. Good breathing is when we cannot see children breathe. It is unnoticeable. This is what Lao Tzu meant when he said the perfect man breathes as if he does not breathe. When the body is efficient with excellent extraction of oxygen to the tissues and organs, breathing is quiet.
On the other hand, not so good breathing is noisy, heavy, loud, and erratic. Look at how it is described. It is effort, but breathing should not be an effort. When breathing is through the mouth, oxygen extraction from the red blood cells to tissues and organs including the brain is inadequate. Just like a big old American automobile which guzzles gallons of gas to drive a small distance. Heavy breathing humans too are inefficient. Inefficient breathing is when breathing can be heard and there are noticeable movements of the tummy and chest during rest.
Each year, I see the breathing habits of children throughout Europe and the USA. Many attend my Buteyko courses because they are wheezing or coughing. Others apply Buteyko to help with their sports, to improve their performance and fitness. Other children learn the Buteyko Method because they have been referred by their dentist. All of these youngsters have one thing on common- they have learned the bad habit of heavy breathing. Their breathing is often through the mouth and is noisy with sighs and regular yawns.
The Buteyko Method for children corrects breathing volume to normal levels, to breathe as if they do not breathe.