The New Science of A Lost Art

Book - 2020
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A New York Times Bestseller

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2020

Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR

"A fascinating scientific, cultural, spiritual and evolutionary history of the way humans breathe--and how we've all been doing it wrong for a long, long time." --Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love

No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly.

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.

Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.

Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.

Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2020.
ISBN: 9780735213616
Branch Call Number: 613.192 NESTOR J
Characteristics: xxii, 280 pages ; 23 cm


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Once in a while, helping a library patron or on the trail of a certain book or author, some odd tidbit in the catalog will grab my attention. A recent example: I discovered that the new book by James Nestor had several dozen holds on it, and at that time we owned only one copy. "Wait," you say. "Who's James Nestor?" You're forgiven if you haven't read all of my blog posts. I mentioned him a… (more)

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Jan 09, 2021

James Nestor's book "Deep" is one of my all time favourite reads. So I really couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. Breath is about the art and science of breathing, touching on subjects as broad as anatomy and physiology, spirituality, history, culture and sociology.

As a book that is supposed to be about the science of breathing, it is very light on the science and heavy on the anecdotes. I really enjoyed reading this, but it still wasn't what I expected. Books such as The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown to be much more satisfying when learning about both the science behind breathing and how to correct bad breathing technique and habits. Having said that I would still recommend this book, especially as an introduction to the topic and especially for those who are intimidated by "hard" science books.

Dec 30, 2020

Science or pseudoscience... that's really the question. It left me with much to think on, but I still feel like I was bit hoodwinked.

Nov 11, 2020

The book has a good and helpful advice: breath through your nose. Other than that it's very misleading and pseudoscientific.

Nov 03, 2020

LHTL reco

Oct 26, 2020

I learned a lot from this book. Most importantly I learned that I had been breathing wrong. Just four nights of taping my lips together cured me of my snoring. I look forward to my husband reading it!

Jul 16, 2020

This is a book on History, Science and Art of Breathing. This is not self-help book but is still a great book to read. The Appendix does give some pointers on self-help.
I highly recommend this book.

Jul 09, 2020

Amazing book! I heartily recommend it.


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