Breath
James Nestor

Book cover image

Narrated By: James Nestor

Duration: 7 hours and 19 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin. Narrated by James Nestor

"Who would have thought something as simple as changing the way we breathe could be so revolutionary for our health, from snoring to allergies to immunity? A fascinating book, full of dazzling revelations." (Dr Rangan Chatterjee)

"I highly recommend this book." (Wim Hof)

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 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, Brazil. 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 longheld 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, allergies, 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.

Genre

Popular science, Mind, body, spirit: meditation & visualization, Sport science, physical education, Mindfulness, Self-help, personal development & practical advice, Mind, body, spirit, Sports psychology

Listen to a sample

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. I already feel calmer and healthier just in the last few days, from making a few simple changes in my breathing, based on what I've read. Our breath is a beautiful, healing, mysterious gift, and so is this book

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of <i>Eat, Pray, Love</i>

'Super interesting'

Emma Gannon

'I don't say this often, but when I do I mean it: this book changed my life. Breath is part scientific quest, part historical insight, part Hero's Journey, full of groundbreaking ideas, and a rollicking good read. I had no idea that the simple and intuitive act of inhaling and exhaling has taken such an evolutionary hit. As a result, I figured out why I sleep so badly and why my breathing feels so often out-of-sync. With a few simple tweaks, I fixed my breathing and fixed myself. A transformational book'

Caroline Paul, author of <i>The Gutsy Girl</i>

'Breath shows us just how extraordinary the act of breathing is and why so much depends on how we do it. An enthralling, surprising, and often funny adventure into our most overlooked and undervalued function'

Bonnie Tsui, author of <i>Why We Swim</i> and <i>American Chinatown</i>

'I highly recommend this book'

Wim Hof, on Instagram

'If there's one book you read this year, make it this one'

'An eye-opening, epic journey of human devolution that explains why so many of us are sick and tired. A must-read book that exposes what our health care system doesn't see'

Dr. Steven Y. Park, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of <i>Sleep, Interrupted</i>

'I would have thought that breathing was pretty simple and well understood. Then I read this book. Now I know it's a hugely complex and wondrous process which we need to understand much better. Fascinating and provocative stuff'

Daniel M. Davis, author of <i>The Beautiful Cure</i>

'If you breathe, you need this book. When we undervalue anything, including something so basic as breathing, bad things always happen-and Nestor makes it clear how awful it's gotten. But he also provides a clear airway back to better, deeper, stronger respirations'

Wallace J. Nichols PhD, author of <i>Blue Mind</i>

'Who would have thought something as simple as changing the way we breathe could be so revolutionary for our health? James Nestor is the perfect guide to the pulmonary world and has written a fascinating book, full of dazzling revelations'

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

'This book is awesome. Most people have no idea how to do breathing exercises and how beneficial they are. I learned a lot from James Nestor's book. Over the last few weeks I've been using the methods I learned and I can tell you there are absolutely some real benefits to be had from this'

Joe Rogan, on Instagram

'James Nestor's fascinating new book is playful and optimistic'

<i>Spectator</i>

'If you want to read a book about the power of the breath, this is it!'

Patrick McKeown, author of <i>The Oxygen Advantage</i>

'In the past few years, there have been several potentially life-changing books, from Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep and Shane O'Mara's In Praise of Walking, to Norman Doidge's The Brain's Way of Healing. Breath deserves a place alongside such volumes. Read it, and I guarantee you will want to change the way you breathe'

<i>Evening Standard</i>

'A really, REALLY interesting book'

Ella Woodward, <i>Deliciously Ella</i>

It's an incredible book, I absolutely loved it

Tim Lovejoy

'A transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind'

Joshua Foer, author of <i>Moonwalking with Einstein</i>

'A wonderful book that reminds and enlightens us about how breath and mind are intertwined'

Rahul Jandial, author of <i>Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon</i>

'Breath is an utterly fascinating journey into the ways we are wired. No matter who you are, you'll want to read this'