The New Science of a Lost Art

Hardcover, 304 pages

English language

Published by Riverhead Books.


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4 stars (4 reviews)

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 …

4 editions

Review of 'Breath' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

There's a lot to be said about breathing and its place in our lives but I'm not sure this book is saying it. Oh, it might be but it's not convincing for some reason. It's a little too dramatic--a little too "this revolutionary truth is being overlooked"--but at the same time, there are such overlooked truths about breath, I think . . . Maybe I need to do all the breathing exercises and experience it directly but some are scary--they come with warnings--and others need to be repeated over a long period for results that aren't exactly clear.

The first surprising truth is that mouth breathing is bad for you. The "proof" is experienced by the author who has his nose sealed off as an experiment, but I'm not sure it proves what he says it does. It may merely show that having your nose sealed off has adverse results. …

avatar for ian

rated it

5 stars


  • Nonfiction
  • Science
  • Health