Circular Breathing on the Didgeridoo

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Introduction to Didgeridoo Circular Breathing

Circular breathing is undoubtedly the most sought after didgeridoo technique. It’s what every beginner didgeridoo player wants to be able to do… NOW!

Some people think it is a mystical technique that you can be blessed with, others think that it is something that naturally comes after you have been playing for a long time. Neither of these are true.

The fact is, circular breathing is a series of simple physical actions that anyone can learn.

In these lessons, we break the circular breathing down into small steps. Be sure to practice each step until it’s easy, then move onto the next. This is the fastest way to learn the circular breathing technique.

It might take an hour to get it… a day… or even a month. If you persist and follow our steps, you WILL be circular breathing!

Customer feedback and reviews

“SANSHI! you are a legend mate. I was circular breathing after 4 days…. yes FOUR! easy to learn and had me playing wicked droning and wobbles in 6!”
  • “So happy to be able to watch these videos on the iPad. The videos load easily with no buffeting…Sanshi is a great teacher.” (Jeanell, USA)
  • “Exciting times ahead for didj players. Very clear and delivered well.” (Chris, Australia)
  • “The lessons are great! and clear and not rushed but explained fully loving it! Orse!” (Penny, Australia)
    “I see you wanted feedback on your site & its all good for me. I loved watching your videos, they were extremely helpful & i would not change a thing on your site.I just got my didge 2 weeks ago & have been playing it 3 or 4 days per week & because of your circular breathing videos i can do it “almost” perfectly with out the gaps now.

    Sanshi you are an awesome guy & didge teacher, i enjoyed your videos & i will recommend you to everyone that wants to learn to play the didgeridoo.”


    How to do circular breathing as explained by Benni!

    There’s not a day that goes by where we’re not explaining the circular breathing technique in person to a customer at Didgeridoo Breath. Here’s a written how to put together by Benni which explains the ins and outs of circular breathing from start to finish so you can get a better understanding of how the process works…here’s Benni:

    Ahh yes, circular breath….

    For many aspiring didgeridoo players this seems like THE main goal in their practice. Everyday at Didgeridoo Breath and Didgeridoo Dojo we hear comments that we are hungry to dispel such as:

    “I don’t have enough puff to play that”

    “Nah, I’m a smoker – cant do it”

    “Yea but… how do you keep it going??”

    “How do you breathe in and out and the same time?”

    “That’s impossible!”

    etc blah blah blah……

    The task is both mental and physical, and just so long as you are able to breathe in through your nose (even one nostril will do) you have total potential to accomplish this feat! Explaining the technique here in store everyday is one thing, but today I feel like laying it all down for those players out there who are curious or struggling along the path in their own private practice. Lets talk about the art of circular breathing.

    HOW TO

    So, as I have noted already – the task is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. The first hurdle to jump mentally is the one that says “I CAN’T DO THAT”.

    This may be true, but you have forgotten to add one word there…. YET. Maybe you cannot do it just yet, but if you give up before you start then what is the point to anything!

    Being a practice that can be started by yourself, at any time or place, with no equipment, whilst already doing other things should make it as accessible as air itself. Why not dedicate 5 minutes each day to such a beneficial practice and kick some serious goals?

    The second hurdle to jump mentally is to look at breath in a fresh and open way again. You will need to get your head around the fact that you will be multitasking here.

    While you breathe in through your nose (easy!) you will be learning how to squeeze air out of your mouth using your cheeks. Your brain may feel a pinch here at this point, much like it does when someone asks if you can pat your head & rub your tummy at the same time.

    Muscle memory is the key to not overthinking this move – by which I mean, just slowly & steadily repeating the action over and over will allow your body to make sense of it and give your brain a rest. I will explain in more detail about this technique soon.

    The physical hurdles are basically just improving your muscle strength, and familiarity of their new uses. Areas of use here are your cheek muscles, tongue & throat muscles (those around your upper airway), and your diaphragm.

    As you consciously engage with these parts of your body their strength with improve rapidly, as will your ability to control them at will. If you start to aim your breath down towards your navel instead of just the top of your chest – you will be using your diaphragm, and by using the simple training exercise explained in the next paragraph – you will be developing your cheek strength. That is the main purpose! So, lets go further ☺

    Start without the didge…

    So, without worrying about your didgeridoo yet, or how anything sounds (another initial distraction by so many didgeridoo players), here is an exercise for you to train yourself ready for circular breathing. The goal of this exercise is to:

    –make your cheeks strong
    –develop new muscle memory, and ‘get your head around’ the action of it.

    Step 1
    Puff up your mouth full of air (or water if you prefer).

    *NOTE, you do not need any air in your lungs for this action. In fact, why not test it and show yourself how easy it is to simply hold air in your mouth separately from the lungs. Just puff them up and hold them there nice & tight. Good!

    Step 2
    Whilst still holding your mouthful of air, try breathing normally via your nose without changing your cheeks at this stage.

    You will notice & feel that there are already two separate actions going on. Your lungs are breathing as normal, and your mouth has become a separate isolated area.

    Please note that for this to work the soft muscles at back of your mouth/tongue have closed off the space within your mouth to create the seal. Your body should do this automatically anyway every time you breathe in with only your nose. When you are starting out it is helpful to feel this engagement of ‘two separate areas’ for a few breaths, as it makes you more aware of the spaces you are going to develop. So feel this for a bit and then relax again for step 3.

    Step 3
    Good work so far. Not too hard eh?

    Now you are going to feel what it is like to make a vibration with your lips, but without using your lungs!

    Ever spat out a watermelon seed or made a little fart noise with your lips/tongue? Hard to describe in writing here, but if you can make a little squeak sound with your lips that sounds like someone sliding a wet finger across a balloon, or squeaky rubber then you’ve probably got it.

    It is a short wet sound and it comes from your muscles without the need to blow air. This is a nice and important point to make, because for a didgeridoo player the art of circular breathing is the art of keeping your lips vibrating at all times – including while breathing.

    To achieve this we must at some point keep our lips moving without any influence from the lungs. So test yourself now in this step – can you make a little buzz sound with your lips WITHOUT using your lungs? Good! Let’s extend it then.

    Step 4
    Now lets take that short little squirt and extend it by bringing our cheeks into the equation more. Can you extend the vibration to 2 seconds long? Should sound like the balloon got away from you while you were blowing it up ☺

    Can you extend it more? Keep