Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

By James Nestor

I’ve struggled with asthma for just about as long as I can remember, and I’m always looking for ways to be healthier—specifically, ways that don’t require insane life changes—so this book came highly recommended as a way to improve my life without fundamentally altering too many habits. I also started meditating at around the same time I bought the book, which provided an easy inroad to focus on breath.

In general, I liked the book. Nestor does a good job of making the material a story instead of just throwing out facts and normative claims. Some of the claims he does make are a bit too woo-woo for me, but I appreciate the huge section of citations in the back of the book to back up the admittedly good science that he does produce for a lot of his work. I’ve begun focusing on slower 6 count breaths whenever I can, and I’m even slowly building up a jogging habit where I only breathe through my nose. No life changing experiences for me yet, but I don’t know that that’s what I’m looking for. I don’t need to see God or vibe with the energy of the universe; just being consistently productive and happy will do, and I seem to be doing that.