- Updated on July 31, 2019
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
You will be super healthy 24/7 from your yoga practice and yogic lifestyle changes, if, as a result of your changes, you retrain your unconscious breathing at rest (during sleep too):
Down below, Volker Schmitz (yoga teacher from Hamburg, Germany) and Dr. Artour Rakhimov (from Toronto, Canada) discuss yoga lifestyle for beginners and more advanced students related to basics of sleep, physical exercise requirements, and diet. How to start a yoga lifestyle?
Synopsis of yogic lifestyle video (tips for sleep, physical activity, and diet)
To start with the yogic lifestyle, Volker recommends eliminating mouth breathing, both day and night. Volker mentions how mouth taping at night can prevent sleep-time mouth breathing. More information on how to safely reduce mouth breathing at night can be found here: mouth taping for sleep. Volker next mentions how sleeping on our backs is not recommended; instead of sleeping on the left side is the best sleep position (together with chest).
Practicing yoga one to one-and-half hours per day is not enough movement to increase body oxygen levels, says Volker. Dr. Artour tells us that reaching Dr. Buteyko’s norm with a 60-second control pause (CP) test result would require 2.5 to three hours of daily physical exercise with only nose breathing. More about the how to conduct a body oxygen test, also known as a CP test, easily at home can be found here: CP or DIY body oxygen test.
Grounding and Earthing methods are ways to increase body oxygen levels. Dr. Artour has web pages explaining how to ground on NormalBreathing.com: Earthing benefits and how to ground yourself. Dr. Artour recommends a ketogenic diet to reduce weight and inflammation. The ideal diet would produce little to no need for toilet paper use, or in other words, little to no soiling. See the ketosis page for details: ketosis benefits.
Another lifestyle tip for yoga beginners that works to slow down automatic-unconscious breathing is sleeping in a cool bedroom without many blankets and clothing layers. People that have jobs requiring much talking during the day may have to work harder to slow down their breathing. Nutritional supplements that help to increase body oxygen and reduce inflammation are fish oil supplements, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
As about duration of yogic sleep in hours, if you become a true yoga master, your sleep should be about 2-3 hours per night naturally, as for Dr. Buteyko and some of his medical colleagues who retrained their breathing to the ideal level (see the top image on this page). We have the Sleep-Breathing Table (Chart) that summarize the experience of our breathing students in relation to how their breathing parameters made them sleep less and less naturally: How to sleep less.
To recap, the three most important yogic lifestyle changes for beginners needed to reach higher, healthier body oxygen test levels are avoiding mouth breathing day and night, avoiding back sleeping position (prevent supine sleep), and increasing daily physical exercise time with only nose breathing.
Dr. Artour mentions there are other recommended lifestyle changes not mentioned here but can be found by working under the guidance of an experienced Buteyko breathing practitioner. Or one may try our Learning Modules that provide step-by-step guidance in solving health problems and getting super healthy.
Right below here, as your bonus content, are yoga quotes (5 paragraphs of wisdom) by the leading Soviet physiologist Dr. Buteyko who unlocked the key secret of yoga (how yoga changes breathing with measurable tools to evaluate yoga lifestyle efficiency).
We declassified the major miracles of the yogi. Their major miracles are in the reduction of respiration and accumulation of carbon dioxide. For thousands of year, the yogi were looking for “prana”, which is somewhere in food, air, etc. It turned out that carbon dioxide is prana. Here is the main source of life – carbon dioxide. If you accumulate it, you become a “superhuman”; if you lose it, you suffer…
There is no total one-sidedness: if we increase carbon dioxide above the norm (the middle norm), then an interesting phenomenon arises which I will explain later such as super-endurance [or super-resilience], a special stability of certain processes, a special stability of the nervous system, etc. Now we shall connect this with the secrets of the yogi, which thus far have not been decoded. It turned out that we discovered the way to decipher super-resilience of the yogi and their miracles.
All these miracles are based on the fact that yogis accumulate CO2, and all their secrets are connected with a reduction in breathing. Over 30 years ago [John] Haldane found that the organism regulates CO2 level with 0.1% accuracy (the threshold of CO2 regulation). Since this is the level of accuracy, CO2, obviously, is very important. Is oxygen-regulated with the same precision? Only when oxygen decreases by more than 5%, the organism reacts to restore it.
Then we understood that by reducing breathing below the norm, our patients arrived at miracles. Here we realized . . . what it was all about! It reminded of the yogi. What they strive for, it turns out, is achieved through reduction of breath and increase in carbon dioxide. This explains their miracles.
… Super-endurance of yogis is the effect of shallow breathing. This final result unites real yogis and our system, the scientific system of breathing. Yoga should be studied! There are many interesting physiological things there. This topic is raised by many scientists in Moscow, and I support them. We came across these phenomena accidentally, and if we focus on them, many interesting things can be discovered.”
Dr. Buteyko Lecture in the Moscow State University (1969)