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  • Breath

  • The New Science of a Lost Art
  • Written by: James Nestor
  • Narrated by: James Nestor
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (249 ratings)

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Breath

Written by: James Nestor
Narrated by: James Nestor
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. Narrated by James Nestor.

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 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, 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.

©2020 James Nestor (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind." (Josua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)

"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)

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What listeners say about Breath

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Informative book

This book is not about how to practise Pranayama or breathing exercise, but bringing out the importance of the same. Thus, inspiring convincingly. Recommend reading by all, old and young. And then practise correct way of breathing and also Pranayama.

4 people found this helpful

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you will never ignore breath again

First audio book that I could finish..and that too in 3 days ...it simply added one more dimension to focus apart from exercise,diet and meditation..and that too in a scientific way..happy to read and recommend to everyone..you ll know the importance of breath in a way that you won't ignore these facts for the rest of your life

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Amazing Book

thank you for this treasure. it's simply amazing. will learn and share whatever works for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Well researched and useful to listen or read.

The importance of breathing and breath is often overlooked by many. This book will offer many insights and inputs on the need for nasal breathing for overall physical, mental and emotional health.

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Amazing, simple ans scientific

Have been doing Nadhi Shodhan since long but breathing only through nose is working wonders for me. Tried it while cycling, doing HIIT and even trekking. Superfast recovery. Already recommend this Amazing book to many including few with Asthama . Thank you so much Mr James Nestor

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Great Book

We all should know how to breathe and yet we don't.

When i did sudarshan kriya for the first time, it blew my mind and changed me forever. I have learnt to manage my stress better and have gotten to a much better health.

This book is a great one that everyone should read about why and how we should breathe better. The science has always been with us...if only we were to heed.

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A real taste of breath...are if breathing right

One of the most unique book that i came across containing so much information related to breathing. the techniques mentioned are great and some of them can surely be adopted on day to day basis for a more healthy life.

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Insightful!

Fascinating and energetic audio book. It imparts new perspective to the act of breathing.

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10/10

Great book ! Teaches you how important your breathing is! Will strongly recommend this book! - 10/10

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Insightful book. Loved its research

Being an Indian who exposed to Pranayama & yoga since childhood, the book brought newer findings and research to me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-20

a must read for everyone

as a Breatheology master instructor and Wim hof method instructor, the art of breathing is not new to me but still i enjoyed reading Breath, it is full of knowledge that we should have learned in school. the world would be a better place of we did

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kishen. W.
  • 20-09-20

Fascinating!! A factual awaking of the science of breath.

I have suffered from a blocked nose all my life! Which is why I was drawn to this book(after watching James’ TED Talk).
I am an active 52 year old, working in the health & fitness field for 34 years now, so the art of breathing has always been a keen subject to me. ‘Breath’ is such an eye opener to the world of the science of breathing that I feel anyone one with an interest in the subject should definitely read it.
The manner in which James has narrated the book, makes it a delightful listen, even to the lay person, who would just be inquisitive above breathing.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book! Would definitely encourage everyone to read it.

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  • Kevin Nguyen
  • 31-05-21

Great book.

I love this book. Wished I read it earlier.
It is so simple and natural but hardly anyone shares it to mainstream.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jude
  • 12-08-20

a gripping lesson

an eye opener. will be using this technique from now on. great narrator too

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-20

A Good Reminder

Researched. Insightful. Interesting. Necessary. Worth listening to this book more than once. Worth sharing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrea Giuliodori
  • 09-06-20

Great book!

I've really enjoyed Nestor's book: a great mix of storytelling, facts and useful tips. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Baloo
  • 03-12-22

Amazing technique

James explained the importance of systematic breathing techniques after a decade of research. Highly recommended.

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  • Karim
  • 13-09-22

Probably true but underwhelming

The story and medical science behind this book is probably true to some extent. Felt a bit repetitive and could have been shortened without loosing it’s core message.

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  • Andrew Delmont
  • 14-07-22

Wow. Just wow!

“Holy Sh1t” this book can truly change the world for the better, more so than any other book I have ever read. Everyone should immerse themselves in the lesssons contained therein. Thank-you James Nestor 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

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  • Hansie Engelbrecht
  • 03-09-21

Must read

A wonderful insight into the art of breathing. Must read for any health or fitness fanatic.

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  • driver
  • 29-07-20

A waste of time

After listening to this book for a while I realised he was giving any breathing tips just stories so I skipped to the summary where the techniques were giving and that's all you need.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Social Work Tutor
  • 24-07-20

A detailed and insightful look into breathing

A detailed and insightful look into breathing.

This book taught me a lot that I didn’t know and I’m already starting to put into practice some of its advice.

The eight you are left with make you question the length of the book and, although some of the stories surrounding the tips are interesting, other ones drag and feel repetitive.

This meant it was a bit of a struggle at times to commit to.

A good book and it is useful, although I’m left feeling that I could have for the same insight from a 2000 word article.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Healey
  • 28-06-20

Comprehensive & useful

This was really interesting. I thought I already knew a lot about breathing, I’ve been meditating a while & doing Taoist breathing techniques. This was interesting, well written & comprehensive. The techniques at the end was a nice touch & definitely make this one to get on audible rather than paper.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 03-07-20

Light on content, heavy on anecdote

I found it laboured and overly padded with too much narration of the author's personal interactions. Thankfully the last chapter provides some actual breathing techniques.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Sara Griffiths
  • 13-06-20

The power of your breath... and tonnes of interesting things you didn’t know.

As a yoga teacher, I am familiar with many of the techniques discussed in this book. The author presents them here (in the audible version) in a really accessible and interesting way. I’ve learned much about the historical investigations into the power of breathing and our evolution as a species... and the wonderful anecdotes and personal stories throughout are most engaging. I thoroughly recommend this book (even if you think you know all about breath techniques already) the passion and curiosity of the author and his cohorts is palpable!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 27-05-20

Informative and could be life changing information

This is an absolutely fascinating book. The author did a huge amount of research and I'd guess many will be amazed at how many things are connected to the way we breathe, such as blood pressure, bone density, our facial structure, snoring, allergies, hypertension, psoriasis, asthma, crooked teeth...
The explanations of some those things made so much sense and I liked the suggestions provided on how to go about remedying some of those issues in a way that costs nothing but time and effort.
Am about to start reading for a second time to truly take it all in.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Lee Burnett
  • 23-02-21

Listen to it!

Simply incredible. Very enjoyable to listen to. I don't normally like American audiobooks (sorry) but this kept me engaged and his voice was continuously comforting. Beyond that, it's just a fascinating book. The simple breathing exercises have already helped me control my lifelong anxiety and I can calm myself down in a matter of seconds. I've changed the way I breathe, and it's changed the way I feel. Highly recommended.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-08-20

good message, very long winded

takes ages to get to the point... it keeps on going!

skip to the summary and the breathing techniques.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Simon L
  • 06-05-21

Fantastic book!

Great book with different types of breathwork traditionally practised around the world. Don’t skip to the breathing techniques at the end, get the full benefit and enjoyment from a well written book!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Aileen Cox Blundell - Baby Led Feeding
  • 13-09-20

Researched based but hated authors impersonations

The book itself is great. Very educational and I loved that it is research and fact based. It taught me a lot about stress and anxiety.

However, the authors impersonations of the people he interviewed from doctors to medical subjects sounded like he was a Californian stoner, surfer dude. He was all but short of saying ‘it’s totally raaaaaad duuuude’. So you can just imagine when he is quote a French woman in that voice how it would be extremely annoying!

Breath Aileen breath!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Tiit Pähn
  • 11-07-20

this book has changed my life!

I finally managed to get restful sleep over many years, while tracking my sleep with Oura ring and sleeping in perfect condition at 18C, 40% humidity, having fixed bedtime and wake-up, without eating anything prior sleeping for 3 hours and dimming the lights and blocking out all the blue wavelengths, eating healthy and having very fit body I still had a very low restfulness score, tossing and turning throughout the night! Just by applying simple hack of taping middle of my lips shut with a postmark sized tape piece I woke up in the morning completely recovered and full of energy and enthusiasm which I last felt many years ago, and breathing through the nose in the morning has never felt better. Thank you again for this masterpiece. If there is one book to improve your health and wellbeing this is it.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Antoni
  • 15-07-20

didn't feel like a non fiction book

Absolutley addicting book to listen to. James has done a great job reading it too.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-07-20

Fundamental and fascinating

An excellent book based on research, self-experimentation, insight and a dash of self-deprecating humour. The benefits of breathing through your nose and the detriments of mouth breathing couldn't be clearer. Every breath I take... this book is watching me... and I can already feel the benefits. Great work James Nestor!

13 people found this helpful

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  • danny
  • 20-09-20

great book if you have anxiety or sleep problems

Have been struggling with bad sleep for a few years now which I was aware was coming from stress/ anxiety. When I'm stressed i feel a tightness in the chest and it's been such a relief to find a book with a great story, information, narration, and very practical advice on reversing that tight anxious, out of breath feeling which also was ruining my sleep. Many thanks for this book James Nestor

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-20

Excellent insight - breathe only through your nose

The anthropological research is fascinating. The book gives an excellent analysis and practical suggestions for improving our quality of life through better breathing habits. In short, learn to breathe slowly, deeply, only through the nose, and try for some breaks between the inhale and exhale as well. There are numerous variations to experiment with, to find what suits you best and in what context.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Branco Grabovac
  • 22-09-20

Life changing

Along with Mathew Walker’s Why We Sleep, this book should be a must read for everyone!

You’ll never breathe the same. That’s all I can say.

Beautifully written and read. Very engaging, informative and inspiring.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-08-20

Great book for complementing health practices.

James Nestor does a great job in explaining his own experiences with breathing as well as the history and science behind different breathing practices.
Personally, I'm constantly looking for new methods and good habits to incorporate in my life, so this book will help me to improve one of the many areas I might be neglecting.
The breathing practices in the final section is worthwhile because there is someone guiding you through the excersices, so better doing the audiobook format.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 05-12-20

Interesting but falls short

This was a really interesting book and I will search more of James online. I’ve listened 3 times. Unfortunately it doesn’t deliver on the helpful. Apart from mouth taping and wearing nasal strips to open the nostrils at night which I am now doing, there are few take away. I’m now doing Wim Hof breathing but new about this before buying this book. Anders tells how to do various breathing methods at the end of the book, but you are still left wondering...

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mel
  • 29-07-20

It will change your life

A very important and interesting book on the most important thing you can do for your health. I found this book very informative, interesting and exciting. Can’t wait to continue to train my breath and reap the benefits.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-20

might save your life

Loved it. as you listen you relax because you become so focused on breathing.

4 people found this helpful