Breath Book Summary By James Nestor

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Breath (2020) is a book that offers an in-depth look into the incredible power of breathing.

Written by James Nestor, one of the most celebrated authors on the subject, it dives into the overlooked western science behind various types of breathing and their impacts on our overall health.

Through research and interviews with breath practitioners from all over the world, Nestor unveils the mind-blowing facts about how mastering different breathing techniques can help your body heal and still more.

This book opens readers to powerful new ways they can use their breath to improve mental clarity, performance, and even reduce stress levels.

It’s an eye-opening read which has been widely praised by critics for its fascinating research and engaging storytelling.

Whether you're interested in learning more about breathing or looking for simple yet effective relief from stress, Breath will provide you with a host of new health strategies.

Breath Book

Book Name: Breath (The New Science of a Lost Art)

Author(s): James Nestor

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

Categories: Health & Nutrition

Author Bio

James Nestor is an acclaimed journalist and author, primarily based out of San Francisco.

His journalistic career has seen him contributing to renowned publications such as Scientific American, Outside Magazine, and the New York Times.

Moreover, he has been credited with producing insightful work through his book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves.

Nestor is especially known for exploring remarkable subjects in depth through a combination of expert interviews and personal experimentation.

He also writes about food products and industry practices that have had major impacts on human health outcomes for better or worse.

Unlocking The Incredible Power Of Breath: Exploring The World Of Pulmonauts

Power Of Breath

Have you ever stopped to think about the amazing effects of simply breathing well? It might surprise you that this seemingly mundane act can have an incredible impact on your overall health.

In James Nestor’s Breath, he dives into the amazing power we have over our bodies with some simple breathing exercises.

He introduces us to a world of so-called “pulmonauts,” people who have devoted themselves to exploring and unlocking these powers.

By introducing them, Nestor teaches us why it is so important to never breathe through our mouths; why carbon dioxide has been misunderstood for so many years; and how one man was able to run a half-marathon shirtless in the Arctic Circle with the help of his breathing techniques.

So if you want to know more about the amazing effects that proper breathing can bring, pick up a copy of Nestor’s Breath and join these pulmonauts on their journey towards better health and wellness!

We Should All Be Aware Of The Vital Importance Of Breathing Through Your Nose

James Nestor’s traumatic experience of having plugs inserted into his nostrils and being forced to mouth breath for five days reveals a powerful truth: it’s far more beneficial to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.

Studies suggest that up to 50% of us breathe mostly through our mouths, which is a concerning statistic.

Mouth breathing disrupts sleeping patterns, lowers blood pressure, and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke – all things that can cause extraordinary discomfort and pain.

Upon removing his plugs after ten days, Nestor noted that only then was he able to take in a full breath of air through his nose, with an immediate sense of relief.

This is because when we inhale oxygen through our noses, our bodies receive unprocessed air which contains helpful chemicals that regulate the heart rate and other bodily functions – something that simply can’t happen when you mouth breath.

An infamous experiment conducted by Egil P.

Harvold in the 1970s-80s further proved this point.

He used plugs to block monkeys’ nostrils and observed them closely over two years–with dramatic results.

The monkeys experienced such extreme dental arch narrowing and crooked teeth formation; their heads had changed shape altogether!

Remarkably however, as soon as their nostrils were opened again after two years’ time, their faces returned to normal just within six months – illustrating how quickly we can reverse damage from mouth breathing if we act quickly.

Based on these results − both Nestor’s own experience and Harvold’s research result on monkeys − it appears clear that all of us should strive to do our best to breathe primarily through the nose in order to obtain maximum health benefits.

The Importance Of Nasal Breathing And Its Role In Human Evolution

Nasal Breathing

Humans heads were not designed for optimal breathing.

This issue goes back millions of years, when ancient hominins began to process food before they ate it, causing their brains to require more energy and growing larger in size.

As our brains got bigger and the larynx descended into the throat, our sinuses and airways had no choice but to shrink.

The developments that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago may have caused us some major problems, but things only got worse 300 year ago with the modern Western diet.

Nowadays, we consume soft foods which don’t require as much chewing, resulting in smaller mouths and an increase in a variety of body problems – one being respiratory issues.

However, even with these disadvantages humans have faced for thousands of years other cultures haven’t been affected as greatly.

In fact, American researcher George Catlin visited 50 native communities across North and South America many moons ago and found that despite their cultural differences people shared a few common features; tall physiques, straight teeth and minimal health issues – all due to a fundamental belief in nasal breathing!

How Carl Stough Revolutionized The Treatment Of Emphysema And Discovered The Power Of Proper Breathing

Breathing efficiently is essential for getting the most out of life.

But when it comes to taking in air, we often think less about how we are expelling it.

Carl Stough, a choir director appointed at the East Orange Veterans Affairs hospital helped patients make a surprising discovery: breathing out is equally as important as breathing in.

Stough noticed that his emphysema patients were taking short rapid breaths and concluded that they weren’t sufficiently exhaling instead of not inhaling enough.

He then proceeded to teach them how to fully exhale while teaching them to also use their diaphragms- the muscle that lies underneath the lungs.

This gentle technique enabled them access parts of their lungs that were still healthy and able to work more efficiently due to a prolonged and effective exhalation process rather than quickly releasing it like most people do.

What doctors had presumed was impossible proves wrong due to Stough’s findings- you can indeed exercise your diaphragm through proper breathing techniques!

Even simple everyday activities such as walking and cycling can help improve your lung capacity by 15 percent just by focusing on completely emptying out your breath when you exhale.

So don’t dismiss the power of breathing out – it counts just as much as breathing in!

The Benefits Of Slowing Down Your Breath For Better Health

Better Health

Most of us are unaware of how the simple act of breathing can have such a huge impact on our health, but science has now proven that slow, shallow breaths can bring many unexpected health benefits.

This process begins at the molecular level; when oxygen molecules in inhaled air attach to red blood cells, they are carried throughout the body and exchanged for carbon dioxide molecules which travel back to the lungs to be exhaled.

What is crucial here is that carbon dioxide helps dilate blood vessels so that more blood can reach the cells.

Taking slow, shallow breaths allows more Carbon Dioxide to remain in the system thus increasing its efficiency and helping to improve your circulation too!

Exercising or getting anxious involves taking deep breaths with heavy exhalations, which lead to all Carbon Dioxide being expelled from the system and reducing blood flow, causing us headaches and light-headedness.

This is why it’s beneficial for us all to use slow, deep breaths; even if you’re not deliberately trying to pray or meditate – as doing this can greatly improve your day-to-day wellbeing.

The ideal breath should involve an inhalation period of 5.5 seconds followed by an exhalation of another 5.5 seconds – making a total of 5.5 breaths per minute.

Incorporating these slower breaths into your daily routine can really make a difference and may even help you better manage stress levels over time!

Reversing Our Modern Habits To Improve Our Breathing And Look Younger

Did you know that it’s possible to do a lot to improve the shape of your mouth and reverse the trend of modern lifestyle-induced problems like snoring and asthma? This is because these issues can be attributed to habits – and what better way to fix a problem than by altering the source cause?

One of the primary methods for doing this is by improving oral posture.

It could be as simple as keeping your lips together slightly and placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth, when you’re sitting or standing upright.

When done correctly, it can help open up some of those previously obstructed airways.

More advanced solutions also exist in the form of devices such as Theodore Belfor’s Homeoblock – a small block-like tool which simulates more chewing than actually occurs.

After only a few weeks of using it, you can expect a widened air margin, an aligned jawline and even growth in bone matter around your face!

That’s right – adult bone growth without surgery or medicine!


So if you want to improve the shape of your mouth quickly and safely, this could be just what you need.

The Amazing Transformative Power Of Extreme Breathing Techniques

Breathing Techniques

A quick look at the remarkable feats of practitioners like Swami Rama, Tibetan Buddhists, and Wim Hof proves that extreme breathing techniques can lead to results that go far beyond the average.

Swami Rama was able to adjust his heart rate from 74 beats per minute to 52 within a minute and later increase it from 60 to 82 within eight seconds!

Furthermore, he even made his heart beat at 300 beats per minute for 30 seconds—a rate that would usually be fatal.

Tibetan Buddhists have been utilizing the power of breathing for generations with their practice of Tummo, an ancient method which creates immense changes in body temperature such as surviving adverse temperatures in thin clothing or melting snow around the body.

Moreover, former Dutch mail carrier Wim Hof demonstrated similar capacities by accomplishing a half-marathon in the Arctic circle without shoes or shirt!

His simplified version of this method, designed specifically for western audiences, requires heavy breathing combined with repeated exposure to extreme cold.

Altogether it is clear: extreme breathing techniques when used under careful consideration can have incredible results on our bodies.

It Is Possible To Alter Consciousness Through Carbon Dioxide Therapy And Holotropic Breathwork

Carbon dioxide can be used as a tool to alter one’s state of consciousness.

This is something that Stanislav Grof discovered almost 60 years ago, when he was one of the first people to try LSD in a drug trial.

After it was banned, he developed his own method (known as Holotropic Breathwork) to achieve similar results without any illegal substances.

Through several hours of heavy breathing, Grof found that intense hallucinations were brought on due to the decreased levels of carbon dioxide and the reduced blood flow to certain areas in the brain – including areas responsible for our sense of self and time perception.

Likewise, Dr.

Justin Feinstein has been studying an area known as “carbon dioxide therapy,” where people are exposed to high doses ofCO2.

At first these treatments lead to extreme panic attacks due to the shock effect on the chemoreceptors – but once those subside, they tend to create a sensation of profound relaxation in some patients.

It’s similar to what can be achieved through gentle breathing exercises, but much more accessible for those with mental health conditions such as anxiety or schizophrenia who couldn’t possibly achieve this relaxed state through those traditional methods.

In conclusion, by varying our levels of carbon dioxide we can alter both body and mind – leading us into deep states of relaxation or even unlocking visions or transcendent experiences like Stanislav Grof experienced so long ago!

Unlocking The Ancient Wisdom Of Prana Through Breathwork

Ancient Wisdom Of Prana Through Breathwork

The power of breathing is something that many people simply don’t understand.

While Western scientists like Justin Feinstein are beginning to explore the effects of breathing and carbon dioxide levels, much of this research is still in its infancy.

But, elsewhere in the world, breathing and its power is already taken seriously as ancient wisdom.

For instance, Swami Rama and practitioners of Tummo practice heavy breathing as a way to improve one’s health and well-being.

Even yoga—which has only recently gained popularity in the West—had its beginnings 3,000 years ago with the Yoga Sutras, which were focused more on building up prana (a concept of energy or life force) through breathing than physical movement.

In the East, traditional practices such as acupuncture were also developed to maintain a steady flow of prana for improved well-being.

All throughout history we can see evidence that suggests breath can stimulate incredible reactions such as hallucinations – although these should be approached gradually rather than relying on shock to achieve results – yet it’s surprising that modern science still has so much to learn about something as fundamental to us as breathing.

Sadly some advances in lifestyle have not gone hand in hand with advances in healthcare, but luckily it doesn’t take an extreme method or even necessarily believing in prana for you to benefit from the power of your breath; even a simple technique such as 5.5 seconds inhale followed by 5.5 seconds exhale can make a huge difference!

Wrap Up

The final takeaway from the book is that breathing correctly can have incredibly powerful effects on our health, overall wellbeing and even beyond.

Any time you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few gentle breaths in and out over a period of 5.5 seconds each to help you relax and gain control of your emotions.

At the same time, it is possible to step up your practice further and become superhuman with the power of breathwork – if you’re willing to put in the work and dedication.

Breath Book provides an insightful and comprehensive blueprint on how to do just that, so make sure you read up on it!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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