Hello Mutineers! If you’ve followed us here on the website or on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, you know that I like to share the things we actually use around Mutiny Ranch. Since our interests are diverse these items range from animal care to gardening implements but also footwear and kitchen gadgets. No matter what the item is though if we recommend it here then we personally own and use it or have researched it enough to have it on our “wishlist”.
The Mutiny Ranch Item of the Day for 4/26/2021 is the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. Basically, if you breathe you should read this book.
I never knew the breath was so important to health and vitality…that is, until I went away to yoga teacher training. There, I learned about prana (life force) and pranayama (to extend or draw out life force). We practiced pranayama every day…which, reduced to the most basic, simplified definition, is breathwork. There were a variety of practices from a pumping like breath to alternate nostril breathing to rolling the tongue and breathing through it like a straw. And, of course, most people who have been to a yoga class might be familiar with ujjayi breathing (slow deep breathing that sounds like Darth Vader or the ocean).
Many of us probably have used our breath for calming ourselves down, like taking a deep breath before saying something you might regret. Maybe you “psyched” yourself up (or down) with your breath before ripping off a bandaid or during childbirth. Some of us have developed breathing patterns to support our sport like running (inhale 3 strides, exhale 3 strides). Others have to be reminded to breathe. But have you ever wondered if you’re breathing efficiently or correctly? Do you even think the breath can be an important aspect of health?
There’s been a recent movement toward breath awareness thanks to The Iceman, Wim Hoff. I had heard of him many years ago but it wasn’t until 2018 when I watched the documentary series Transcendence (Wim Hoff was featured in an episode) that I really got excited again about breathwork. Wim has used his breathwork to break 26 world records and has climbed to the top of Mt. Everest in shorts and with no oxygen! He has astounded scientists with his ability to sit in ice water and snow without succumbing to the effects of hypothermia or frostbite.
In the book Breath, James Nestor dives deep into the science behind our breathing and how, over the course of a few thousand years, ours has gotten worse. We’ve become a species of mouth breathers who swing from over-breathing to under breathing all to the detriment of our health. He gives you detailed information of why and how this happened, the consequences of breathing like this, and solutions.
I know, you’re probably thinking who needs to have an entire book about breathing? Can’t we just follow Wim Huff’s advice to “Breathe Motherf*cker”? Sure you can. But if you’re like me you’ll appreciate the information Nestor shares and this will lead to a greater understanding and deeper desire to pay attention to our breath…to really make an effort to learn how to use it as a tool in our health.
We care about the food we eat. Some of us care about the substances we drink (like green juice, adaptogens, filtered water, and herbal teas). But we breathe far more than we eat or drink. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breathing. Perhaps it’s time to look at our breath more seriously.
I really loved this book and hope you will too. I realize the first few reviews on Amazon are negative but I hope you’ll read between the lines. Sometimes people in a negative space can’t get out of their own way to open their minds to new information. And sometimes people who think they want to change or improve their health don’t like the information presented because it’s not a quick fix. Remember, anyone can write a review…so be careful whose opinion you give weight to…after all this book has garnered a lot of positive reviews and awards:
A New York Times Bestseller
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2020
An Amazon Best Science Book of 2020
A Goodreads Award Finalist for Best Science & Technology Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR
Note: I listened to the book through Audible which I think is a huge advantage. The author, James Nestor, narrates the book and his inflection helps get the ideas across (IMO). I’ve only recently delved into listening to books. I used to think it “didn’t count” and I worried I wouldn’t retain the information as well. But I have a new appreciation for Audible. I listen while I clean the barn every day and when I’m gardening or cleaning the house.
As always, we sincerely appreciate it when you use our links to make purchases through Amazon. As Amazon Affiliates we may earn a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you. This money goes toward our rescue animals’ upkeep as well as to help assist the rescues of other animals.