Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.
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CAUTION: This episode contains mild swearing.
I’m delighted to welcome James Nestor, the brilliant science journalist and author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art back to the podcast. James and I first spoke last September on episode 124. It was such a popular episode – in fact the YouTube version is my most-watched show! And I knew there was so much more I wanted to talk about with this inspiring guest, who’s such a wealth of knowledge on the untapped potential of breathwork.
Since its publication last spring, James’s book has become an international bestseller, translated into 30 languages. Much of its appeal, I believe, comes from the author’s easy-to-read yet rigorous, objective approach. James isn’t trying to convince us that any one technique is better than another, or to push his opinion. He writes as an enquiring journalist, looking for the science to support effects that have been celebrated for thousands of years.
It doesn’t matter if you missed last year’s conversation or you’re new to the concept of breathwork, as this episode is a handy recap. We cover all the basics of nasal breathing, the science of carbon dioxide tolerance, and the benefits of harnessing our breath for conditions ranging from asthma to anxiety, emphysema to scoliosis. And if you did catch our previous chat? Rest assured we go way deeper in this one! We delve into some of the super-breathing techniques like Tummo breathing (as popularised by Wim Hof), Holotropic Breathwork and Sudarshan Kriya. James shares his own experience of each, as well as the evidence behind them.
Not only has James spent years researching and collating his work, he’s been talking about his findings non-stop to a fascinated audience for the past year. And yet his enthusiasm shows no sign of waning. That, he says, is because he has first-hand knowledge of how life-changing breathwork can be. It’s free, it’s easy, it doesn’t require much of your time, and the results can be instantaneous. I think you’ll be motivated and inspired to try some of the tips that James shares as you listen. So why is it that we have come so far from what should come naturally to us? Answers to all this, and more, in today’s episode. I hope you enjoy listening.
Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*
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Breath: Bibliography and Extended Notes
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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.
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