Lesson 8 of 19
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Self Breathing Assessments

In this video, you will learn some basic tools to measure the state of your breathing, so you have a starting point and track your progress. The two main tests are the Control Pause (invented by Dr. Buteyko) and the C02 Tolerance Test. I personally prefer the Control Pause test but try them both and see which one you like best.

Control Pause Test

Control Pause Instructions and Score Interpretation:

1. Sitting down, close your mouth and breathe normally through the nose for 30 seconds

2. Take a normal breath in through your nose

3. Allow a normal breath out through your nose

4. Gently close your nose with thumb & finger and start to count the seconds on the clock or stop-watch

5. When you first feel the need to breathe, release the nose and take a breath through the nose – remember to keep your mouth closed throughout. The first breath after the hold should be similar to the breath before the hold. If you are struggling or need to take a deep breath then you held too long and should retake your score.

Important Things to be Aware of:

–   The timer starts after an exhale and stops at the first urge to breathe. This is not a maximum breath hold test but a test to help give you input on progress to correct your breathing and specifically tolerance to elevated Carbon Dioxide levels.

–   Another way of looking at the control pause is the comfortable breath hold time. As we improve we should see this increase over time. A small increase in this measurement may result in massive improvements to overall mental and physical wellbeing.

–   The best time to measure is upon waking in the morning (before your first daily breathwork practice). Stay consistent and measure at the same time daily.

–   Goal is to reach a 40 second control pause over time.

–   Throughout this course you will learn various exercises to help increase this score and other measurement tools you can use to track progress.

 Scores Results: (reference: https://buteykoclinic.com/test-your-breathing/)

Less than 10 seconds:

–   Usually feel out of breath or difficulty breathing most of the time, even while resting.

–   Usually breathe through their mouth, into their upper chest and at an elevated rate.

–   Potentially have severe asthma.

–   Breathlessness, wheezing and/or coughing will be frequently present throughout the day and at night.

–   High likelihood of chronic over-breathing or chronic hyperventilation.

–   High likelihood of poor overall health and chronic health conditions.

 10  – 20 seconds:

–   Breathing volume and rate slightly less than someone with a 10 second score.

–   Breathing rate is usually between 15-20 breaths per minute.

–   High likelihood of frequent symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, exercise-induced asthma, colds, chest infections and fatigue.

–   The lower your breath hold, the greater your symptoms. 

20 – 40 seconds:

–   Breathing is generally calmer, effortless and quieter the closer it gets to the 40 second mark.

–   Anywhere from 10-15 breaths per minute is expected breathing rate.

–   Natural pause between each breath lengthens.

–   Main symptoms will have gone, but you may develop symptoms if exposed to a trigger.

–     The effect of a trigger is proportionate to your CP.

–   Reduction of exercise-induced asthma.

–   Frequency and severity of colds and chest infections will have decreased significantly. 

+ 40 seconds:

–   Breathing is effortless, calm, gentle, quiet, soft and minimal. Almost imperceptible.

–   6-10 breaths per minute at rest with 4-5 second natural pause in between breaths.

–   No asthma symptoms are present.

–   You will feel very well with good energy, clarity and breathing.

–   To ensure a permanent physiological change, it is necessary to attain a morning CP of 40 seconds for at least 6 months.

Goals for increasing CO2 score should be slow and steady over time. A good goal is a few seconds every two weeks but individual results will vary. Make sure you have ample rest time in between tests as back to back tests will not produce an accurate score.

CO2 Tolerance Test


1.    Take 4 normal relaxed breaths

2.    At the top of the 4th inhale (totally full), start a timer and exhale as slowly as possible.  Stretch out the exhale for as long as possible. It’s helpful to close your eyes so that you can more effectively stay relaxed. Slowly extending your exhale is all about control.

3.    Stop the timer when your air runs out, or you need to inhale.


·    <20 seconds: Poor

·    Potentially high anxiety and stress sensitivity for someone with this score, there may be some sort mechanical restriction in their breathing and overall has poor lung and respiratory capacity

·    20-40 seconds: Average

·    Someone with this score usually will have a moderate to high stress/anxiety state, breathing mechanics need improvement (Keep working on this course!)

    40-60 seconds: Intermediate

·  People in this range are usually in decent athletic shape and can see quick improvements with focus on CO2 tolerance training and proper breathing mechanics

·    60-80 seconds: Advanced

·    Someone in this score range usually has a healthy respiratory system, good breathing control, good breathing mechanics and lung capacity and relatively good stress control

·    >80 seconds: Elite

·   This score would indicate advanced respiratory system, excellent breathing control, excellent stress control in all conditions.

Goals for increasing CO2 score should be slow and steady over time. A good goal is a few seconds every two weeks but individual results will vary.


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