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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art de…

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (edição: 2020)

de James Nestor (Autor)

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3281759,793 (3.97)13
Título:Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Autores:James Nestor (Autor)
Informação:Riverhead Books (2020), 304 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art de James Nestor

  1. 00
    The Oxygen Advantage: The Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques for a Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter You de Patrick McKeown (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Both works delve heavily into the science of breathing. McKeown's book is heavily based on Buteyko's work and goes into much detail on it; Nestor's is more wide-ranging. I'd highly recommend both.

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Part biology, part cultural history, part personal journey. We do it 25,000 times a day, mostly without noticing. Nestor explores how why we should pay more attention to breathing in this well-researched book that covers the biochemistry as well as the mysteries of how breathing affects our health and quality of life. He draws from current researchers, almost-forgotten experiments, and ancient texts, as well as what he calls 'pulmonauts', people who have discovered various types of breathing to improve their lives. Includes breathing exercises and links to resources, ( )
  TAPearson | May 7, 2021 |
The content is interesting and informative, however, Nestor's participation in breathing classes would be difficult for most of us to replicate. And while I have no interest in his dental health, the dental conditions of the dead in the ossuary of the Paris catacombs was fascinating (although a description of how the guides were dressed was puzzling and unnecessary). Nestor provides some practical advice but it was slow in arriving and much of it was either common knowledge or common sense. This book might be of more interest to someone seeking to understand their own, or their child's, breathing difficulties. ( )
  VivienneR | Apr 25, 2021 |
"Breath" has been a bestseller. Although it was written before the pandemic, it seems to have benefited from all the attention that has being going to breath and breathing in the period since.

Breath is an atheistic book. And by this, I mean that it is all about the "how," or the mechanisms, related to breathing. For example, Nestor cites studies that looked at the healing effects of prayer, and chalks this up to the fact that many prayers force us to breath more slowly. Although I'm sure this is the case, it is sort of missing the point. It is sort of like saying that raising a child is good exercise; missing the point that many of us care about the future of our children and the people they are becoming. In other words, it is a book that is oblivious to "effects," in the sense of holistic or systemic outcomes.

That said, being at least partially acculturated in a reductionistic Western world, I can't help but find all the benefits of good breathing that Nestor documents compelling. For example, I've been hearing friends tell me about [[Wim Hof]] for years, but I can't recall what purported benefits his breathing techniques proffer, except that maybe it has something to do with cold? Nestor explores Hof, what he's doing, and how it works.

The basics of the book are intuitive to me. As a child, I recall my father mentioning on many occasions to breath through my nose, and this is something I do, despite chronic mild congestion (which I've never quite been able to diagnose). I was taught various meditation techniques and breathing techniques, some of which are go-to practices for me.

What was most striking to me about this book was its emphasis on the importance of carbon dioxide in our blood, and its effects on metabolism and efficiency. Apparently carbon dioxide is just as essential as oxygen to the function of our cells, and for some reason, no one ever taught me this! A lot of the health benefits of good breathing are actually about higher levels of CO2 in our bloodstreams; not higher (or lower) levels of oxygen.

Although Nestor documents a number of ancient techniques, Dhikr is glaringly omitted. Dhikr, in the Islamic Sufi tradition, is the most remarkable breath technique in which I have participated. Most Dhikr are practiced in community (although a few can be practiced alone), and have a certain violence to them in their gait and fervor. They also have unequivocally consciousness-altering effects. I'm sure there are many other equally remarkable techniques from traditions of which I'm currently unaware.

At the level of storytelling, in the tradition of Michael Pollan, Nestor describes his research through his own story of self-exploration—including excruciating experiments that one wonders if he participated in simple for the shock value (such as blocking his nose with silicone plugs for ten days to try a state of forced mouth breathing). I notice a lot of authors using this style, and it is an easy way to make your work more relatable. Maybe it also grabs attention in a way that is required in our attention-fragmented current day (people put down less voyeuristic books).

To move into epistemology and pedagogy, unfortunately books are one of the poorer ways to teach people about breathing. As breath is such a somatic phenomenon, it is best taught person-to-person, in-person (which is what Nestor did throughout the book). Anyone that takes Nestor's jubilance to heart will need to find ways of actually getting out and practicing what is described in the book. ( )
1 vote willszal | Mar 6, 2021 |
Breath - The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor starts off really well. I listened to the audiobook and early on in the introduction, the author states:

"The missing pillar in health is breath. It all starts there."

With that kind of statement, I was an eager student, ready to learn. The first third of the book was the most informative and interesting in my opinion. I learned that the way in which we breathe and what we put into our mouths greatly influences the formation of our jaws and teeth.

Those who breathe through their mouths are more likely to suffer from a whole host of health-related problems, while the importance of eating a variety of foods that include chewing and crunching can greatly impact the formation of the jaw, teeth and facial structure.

I enjoyed the author's mention of visiting the ossuary in the Paris catacombs as he discussed the dental health of the dead. He noted that with the introduction of highly processed foods, humans suffer more now from crowded teeth and small jaws which shrinks our mouths and affects our breathing. This brought to mind a book I read in May 2017 entitled Built on Bones - 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death by archaeologist Brenna Hassett which made this case with more science and evidence to back it up.

The author himself suffers from dental and breathing problems and underwent an experiment where he and a colleague taped their noses shut for an extended period of time which forced them to breathe through their mouths. However, you'll need to read the book to find out what happened.

In the author's words:

"This book is a scientific adventure into the lost art and science of breathing."

However, I'd lost interest by the time I reached the sections on breathing practices like Pranayama and the exercises towards the end of the book were uninspiring. Instead, my key takeaways were from the beginning of the book and now when I see a young child sucking their thumb or putting safety blankets in their mouths, I worry for their development.

James Nestor narrated the audiobook himself, however for reasons unknown, puts on a completely different voice when quoting other researchers or people throughout the text. Unfortunately I found this incredibly distracting and it considerably detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

I did enjoy the anecdotal evidence, but Breath is by no means a medical book. Nestor is a journalist, not a medical professional or a scientist, so readers do need to keep this in mind.

Breath - The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor is recommended reading for all parents (even if you just read the first half of the book), anyone suffering from dental difficulties and naturally anyone experiencing breathing problems, like asthma, snoring or sleep apnea. ( )
1 vote Carpe_Librum | Mar 1, 2021 |
The core of the book is to practice slow breathing through the nose. The perils of mouth breathing has been discussed in the book, obviously mentioning the internals of nose and mouth breathing.

I had observed that I breathed through only one of my nostrils and that it alternates at "random" times, though never paid much attention to it. The book talks about the differences of left and right nostrils. The differences between aerobic and anaerobic methods of energy production also helped me understand the benefits of breathing right.

There are quite a few mentions of yoga exercises to better our overall health. Pranayama, being one of them, has shown significantly improve our health by cleaning/clearing our nasal channels. ( )
  nmarun | Feb 7, 2021 |
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