Top 5 takeaways from the book Breath

Written By Katherine O

Have you ever wondered if you are breathing properly? You probably are not.

Premiered on YouTube Jun 15, 2020

In this interview with author James Nestor, Mike Maher covers the highlights from Nestor’s book Breath.

What does this have to do with fasting? This book comes up more often than almost any other non-fasting book on our live calls.

This book has led many in this community to challenge another unconscious assumption (like that eating 6 meals a day is best) — that we know how to breath properly.

Top Takeaways:

  1. Nasal breathing is the way humans are supposed to breathing
  2. Breathe less frequently, optimal breath is slow deep breaths (5.5 breaths per minute)
  3. Tape your mouth at night to ensure you are nose breathing at night
  4. Several chronic conditions are improved or even reversed through learning to breathe properly
  5. Breath is such a powerful tool that you can have at your disposal to reduce anxiety, improve health, improve sleep, change mood and heart rate, so many incredible benefits

Why is Breath described as “The New Science of a Lost Art?”

  • Nestor, due to a history with bronchial issues and an incredible experience in a breathing workshop years earlier became very curious about how humans breathe and what science tells us about this topic
  • Being a journalist, he did what journalists do. Read everything he could on the topic, interviewed all the leading experts, and synthesized his findings for us so that we can benefit from all his hard work
  • In these findings he discovers what few know. The science on breathing is “rock solid”, but something that few of us outside of yogis, scientists in this niche, and mediators know… that most of us our breathing far too frequently through our mouth and thus doing a lot of damage to our health (and sleep) in the process

Why is Breathwork becoming more popular now?

  • As the science of sleep has grown in popularity, more and more scientists (at top universities) have begun looking at breathing, because the two are so interconnected
  • What is shocking to so many is how if you breathe poorly during sleep, which so many people do, it is impossible to be healthy and even more surprising, many chronic conditions can be reversed just by changing the way we breathe
  • As Nestor says, “it sounds outlandish, but it is 100% true”
  • Breath is so foundational — it needs to be considered as important as sleep, exercise, and what we eat (and how frequently)

Should you be taping your mouth at night to sleep?

  • This practice comes from a speech language pathologist at Stanford (as well as others he mentions in his book including dentist Mark Burhenne)
  • It makes it such that we will breathe through our nose (which is far better for our health than mouth breathing)
  • “You will notice profound changes”

What’s so terrible about mouth breathing?

  • From the book:  “Mouthbreathing, it turns out, changes the physical body and transforms airways, all for the worse. Inhaling air through the mouth decreases pressure, which causes the soft tissues in the back of the mouth to become loose and flex inward, creating less space and making breathing more difficult. Mouthbreathing begets more mouthbreathing.”


Where is breathworking going next, what’s the future?

  • Holotropic Breathwork (where you breathe very fast and intensely for hours and are depleting yourself of oxygen) is an active area of research where we need to better understand what is happening in the human body and why it can lead to hallucinations and other intense physiological and psychological effects
  •   There is 50+ years of research on this topic that are just beginning to make their way into main-stream understanding and this is something James Nestor is hoping to do with his work


    More Fasting Flamingo Resources that may be of interest to you: 

    Video Description:

    Michael Mosley has set himself a truly ambitious goal: he wants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. He discovers the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting, and he thinks he’s found a way of doing it that still allows him to enjoy his food. Michael tests out the science of fasting on himself – with life-changing results.

    Watch the entire original video here:

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