The Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

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The Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

In the mid-2000s, freelance journalist James Nestor embarked on a global expedition to uncover the transformative power of breathing. Inspired by his own experience with a Sudarshan Kriya yoga class, Nestor sought out experts, athletes, and healers who had witnessed the profound effects of conscious breathing.

The Importance of Breathing

Nestor’s research revealed that the human capacity for breathing has declined significantly since the Industrial Age, primarily due to changes in diet and lifestyle. Incorrect breathing patterns can lead to a wide range of health issues, including asthma, sleep apnea, anxiety, and chronic pain.

However, Nestor also emphasizes that the ability to breathe correctly can be regained through intentional practice. By adopting simple techniques, individuals can alleviate various ailments and enhance their overall well-being.

Five Essential Breathing Practices

  1. Breathe Through Your Nose: The nose filters, warms, and humidifies air, making it easier for the body to absorb oxygen. Nasal breathing also triggers the release of nitric oxide, which has antibacterial properties.
  2. Nasal Cycling: The right and left nostrils cycle through periods of dominance, influencing the nervous system and hormonal balance. Alternate nostril breathing can be used to balance the body and mind, and to promote specific physiological functions.
  3. Increase Lung Capacity: Regular exercise and deep breathing exercises can increase lung capacity and reverse the natural decline that occurs with age. Exhaling slowly and fully allows for greater oxygen absorption.
  4. Breathe Less: Many people over-breathe, taking in more oxygen than necessary. Practicing slow, controlled breathing can reduce strain on the body and improve efficiency.
  5. Carbon Dioxide Is Key: While oxygen is essential, carbon dioxide is also vital for blood-oxygen exchange. Exhaling fully allows for a healthy balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.


James Nestor’s exploration of breathing unveils the hidden power of this seemingly mundane act. By embracing conscious breathing practices, individuals can improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. The art of breathing, once lost, can be rediscovered, unlocking a path to transformative well-being.


This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to your breathing patterns.

Credit and rights: OMG I Yoga


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