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Is there such a thing as a ‘wrong’ way to breathe? People ask me all the time about the “wrong” ways to breathe. And some breathing coaches even tell me what the wrong way to breathe is.

This is a pretty nuanced topic, and there’s a lot to it. But I would love to share with you a little inquiry, a few different ways to think about it, so you can come up with your own answer.

Follow along and enjoy! 🙂


is there a wrong way to breathe and if

there is

what is it and how do we move ourselves

towards the

right way to breathe what up humans my

name is kasper at casper’s focus and i

would love to share with you a little


into this question that i get all the

time not only do i get this question all

the time of people

asking me what is the wrong way to

breathe am i breathing wrong

how should i breathe for the right way

but there’s also a lot of people

telling me this is the wrong way to

breathe that’s the wrong way to breathe

but this is the right way to breathe

and these people don’t even always agree

there seem to be a lot of people who

are very highly convinced that they know

about what is the right way to breathe

and that they should tell people that

that is the right way to breathe

now of course this is a pretty nuanced

topic but there’s a lot to it and i’d

love to share with you

this little inquiry a few different ways

to think about it so you can also kind

of come up with your own answer

now if you ask a general breathing coach

about the right or the wrong way of

breathing then usually they come up with

a little list right they have

the right way to breathe and then they


the wrong way to breathe and then

on this list they say well it should be

nasal all right we should breathe

through the nose because

the nose is a filter which is amazing it

does all this filtering

and that the mouth doesn’t do that the

mouth doesn’t do filtering

and it doesn’t add nitric oxide and it

doesn’t uh air condition

it so you know mouth breathing has all

these disadvantages

in relation to nasal breathing all right

pretty good then of course

also our breathing should be slow if we


slowly as a base rate it means that we

are very good at taking

up oxygen and that we have a good co2

tolerance where

not every change in breath or change in

state will

make us breathe faster right away right

and then on the wrong side of course

that is hyperventilation or chronic


and um this is usually how

that is kind of portrayed so slow

breathing is good and

hyperventilation is wrong and then we

also have of course the diaphragm

diaphragm diaphragmatic breathing which

is usually explained as

belly breathing which i understand it’s

a kind of good first way to introduce it

to people who’ve never heard about it


of course as you breathe in your

diaphragm moves down and it flattens out

slightly which

needs to and it needs to have some space

there to move which means it moves away

the organs in the abdominal cavity and

the belly moves out which is of course

great but it’s not about a uh in out

forward backward type of movement

actually proper diaphragmatic breathing

is happening all the way in expansion of

this abdominal cavity but also

it moves the lower ribs horizontally

so diaphragm breathing of course is

optimal breathing in most cases because

the diaphragm is our main breathing


and then over here we usually say that

or usually it is said at chest

and even neck breathing is the

wrong way to breathe uh

that type of breathing where you have

all kinds of muscles working

that are not breathing muscles and then

people go oh that’s wrong

and that’s right and there’s a few other

things too but this is usually usually

the the three big topic areas that

people tend to argue

in and with and for and against when

they talk about right or wrong breathing

now of course a lot of that is

um is true right so in most cases nasal

breathing slow breathing diaphragmatic


are the preferred ways to breathe

because they match the state that you’re

in and this is really where i want to

make a point where

if we think in terms of right and wrong

then we’re actually not helping

ourselves change the state and

improve our breathing to where we want

it to be so in my previous video

i talked about this concept that there

is a state of mind and body

so state of being and that state of


triggers a state of breath right so if

you can read the breath if you can

understand the breath if you can see how

the breath moves

and especially how these factors that i

just discussed

change and shift and what are the

factors that make these

factors change for example that make you

go from nasal to mouth breathing

if you understand those then you can

understand something about

this state that this person is in but if

you would then say

that this breath is wrong right if we

say oh

you’re breathing like this which means

that you’re breathing wrong you’re not

doing it right

then you’re also saying that that state

is wrong and this is really where i want

to make the point

my opinion that there is no wrong way to

breathe there is no

wrong way there’s no inherently wrong

way to breathe okay

because that would be to say that

there are wrong states you could also

look at it kind of the other way around

where you say that the


supports a demand of the body

it’s basically the same thing but if you

think about a state a state

demands a certain amount of energy it

demands a certain type of

muscular function it demands a certain

type of biochemistry of neurochemistry

right so

every state that you’re in every

situation that you’re in

in life requires something of your


so there is a demand in that moment so

if you’re just resting

and you’re relaxed on the sofa and

you’re chilling and there’s nothing

really going on in life

there’s not a high energy demand right

but there’s still a demand there’s a

demand for you

to be in a calm parasympathetic state

then if a worrying a troubling text

message comes in

or somebody comes in the door says oh my

god i need your help please follow me

right now

then of course there’s a different

demand you need to change state you need

more energy you need to activate you

need to be more alert you need to

have more sympathetic tone so there is a

certain demand

of you in that moment and then of course

the breath

is the factor that allows you to produce

the energy

to supply for that demand so

breath is simply supplying the demand so

if you would say that there is a wrong

wrong way to breathe then you would say

that there is such a thing as a wrong


now this type of breathing that we have

just marked as

wrong we usually see this in people who

are for example


or stressed right chronically stressed

so if you are anxious or stressed then

you will start

most people if you’re especially if

you’re chronically stressed you will

start to

have more mouth breathing you will start

to breathe a little bit faster so you

get chronic hyperventilation

and you start to use more and more of

your chest and your neck breathing

and that means that this

state of anxiety right the state of


is leading to the breath of anxiety

now if we just look at that breath as a

as a uh you know as a breathing coach or

as somebody who’s read a book about

breathing or whatever you go like huh

you’re breathing wrong you’re doing that

wrong then you’re actually saying okay

that means that

this state is wrong because the breath

is really only filling in

the demand that the state puts

on your biology now a lot of people

suffer from anxiety and a lot of people


from stress does that mean that stress

and anxiety are bad

things are they wrong should they not be


well and there is really the big point

here every single state that you can

experience every emotion you can

experience everything that you can


in yourself is there because it has been


by millions and millions of years of


right if you are in that scenario

sitting on the sofa and you’re chilling

and you’re fine

and somebody walks in and goes oh my god

there’s something wrong there’s a fire

there’s an accident come help

and you don’t have stress you don’t have

this physiological ability to be like

whoa okay boom senses pop open

heart rate goes up breathing goes faster

cortisol is released

you get all this energy you get this

jolt this temporary

superpowers by your internal doping you

know this biochemistry

that gives you this boost of energy

enough awareness

and you’re like all right let’s do this

if you wouldn’t have that and if your

ancestors wouldn’t have had that

imagine like your hunter-gatherer

ancestors like cavemen and women

chilling in the cave

whatever making robe like doing whatever

cavemen are doing

and then you know your body walks in is

like whoa the bear is attacking the

village we need to go

and then you’re like yeah it’s cool bro

i’m just i don’t want to breathe wrong

like i don’t want to be one of your

hyperventilating mouth breathing chest


weirdos like you just go do go be

anxious go be stressed i’m just going to


if your ancestors did that you wouldn’t

be around right that’s what’s called

natural selection so every single state

that you have

is there to provide a vital function

for your survival which means that every

type of breathing that comes with that

state is just

a strategy for supplying

the demand of that state that promotes


including anxiety including stress

including sadness including grief

including anger including rage including

all of these different states

so to conclude is there a wrong way to


no there is not is there a wrong state

no there is not what we actually

do have a lot of times is that we

are stuck in a state that is an

undesired state

we are in a state that we do not want to

be in and then that state is of course

supported and sustained by the breath

so if you go through a phase of intense

stress of intense anxiety

and you’ve you know you’ve had a lot of

high demands on your life and you’ve had

all this stress

and after a few months of that you know

the stressor disappears you know

whatever your

you reach your deadline or your job

clears up you

your relationship ends or changes or

whatever whatever is causing you stress

the period of stress ends then we should

also of course

shift out of the stressful state and

come to a different state

that is more equipped to

help us live the life that we want to

live right if there is a

very intense situation stress will help

us live the life that we need to live in

that moment

it will support us it is there for us

it even gives us superpowers temporarily


if that situation is gone we need to

move to a different state that is more

matched with what we want to do with

what we want to experience

so then we find a lot of people who are

coming out of this state of stress but

they haven’t

changed their state they are internally

still experiencing this unwanted and


undesired state of being like stress or


and that is when people start to suffer

and then you could say well

right now all you literally need to do

is sit on the sofa and chill

and be happy about life and be mindful

and just be present

however you are still breathing through

your mouth

you’re still breathing too fast you’re

breathing 25 times per minute

and you’re still using your neck and

your chest to breathe and then actually

we have this mismatch

where the state of breath or the desired

state that we want

doesn’t match the state of breath

anymore so what we then need to do

is adapt the state of breath to start

supporting the state of being

that we want to be in and

can you then call that wrong well no

it’s still just a sign

it’s still just a you know almost like a

reading i read somebody’s breath

somebody comes to me

for breath coaching or for tips or

whatever and this is also what i teach

my coaches

we look at the breath and we read the

breath and you go like huh you’re

breathing this way

and then people go is it wrong is that

wrong am i doing it

is that bad and we’re like well no it’s

not bad at all

do you want to feel this way and they go

like no i don’t want to feel this way at

all so it must be bad

well not really you just don’t want to

feel this way so

then we also shouldn’t breathe this way

so let’s change our breathing

for a different feeling and then

whenever you do want to feel this way

you can breathe like that again

and so this way we start to include

every single breathing pattern into our

practice and into our understanding that

we can

always shift to different states by

shifting to different types of breathing

so i hope that answers the question for


the question of is there a wrong way to

breathe and i also hope that you can

start to learn

to catch yourself in the moment when

your state of breathing

doesn’t match the state that you would

like to be in now if you enjoy this

stuff please

subscribe to my youtube channel where

i’ll be posting twice a week about

concepts just like this

also feel free to ask me any question in

the comments below

or send me a message on instagram

casper’s focus

thank you for joining and i hope to see

you very soon


Written by Kasper

“The Breathwork Biohacker”

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