We all do it – inhale and exhale, roughly twenty-five thousand times a day, but how much do we actually think about what we are doing when we are breathing? Nothing is more essential to our existence, yet we rarely think about (compared to nutrition or medicines). It’s strange when you actually stop and think about.
Breathing well is not about deep meditation or mindfulness necessarily (although these do obviously have their place with breathing exercises). There has actually been a bit of a renaissance in thinking over recent years, which places the importance of ‘good breathing’ at the centre of our wellbeing and health.
Join the breathing revolution with this selection of reads. All books available from us (in person or online), or via other good independent book shops.
The Wim Hof Method
by Wim Hof
We start with the main man himself! Wim Hof has become a modern legend for his physical achievements, such as withstanding extreme temperatures, hiking up Kilimanjaro in just shorts and shows and running barefoot marathons over deserts and ice fields. Wim Hof states that all his achievements can be attributed to his own technique, the now dubbed Wim Hof Method, a method used by athletes and spiritual masters (even Liam Hemsworth and Tom Cruise have been said to dabble) which aims to supercharge your capacity for strength, health, and happiness.
Soon to be a star of a BBC programme, Wim Hof’s Superstar Survival, in this book Wim Hof takes you through his methods and how he has developed them over the years. Focusing on three key elements of Cold, Breathing and Mindset, this book aims to help readers realise your physical and spiritual potential.
Breathe: The 4-week breathing retraining plan to relieve stress, anxiety and panic
by Mary Birch
This book focuses on how poor breathing habits can impact you if you have anxiety stress or panic disorders, and emphasises that this can have a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing. It sounds like a scary prospect; those of us who have anxiety know that focusing on a problem can actually make it worse (how many times have you been told to ‘just breathe’ when you are having a panic attack only for the symptoms to get worse?!). Birch recognises this, and Part 2 of this book contains a four week programme with guidelines to help improve breathing patterns. It’s not a quick fix, and, although it is advertised a four week programme, many people would benefit from repeating the exercises over many years.
Birch is a qualified nurse, specialising in breathing retraining, and so you do feel that the methods in those book have some academic weight (unlike others which can feel anecdotal and personal).
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
By James Nestor
New York Times Bestseller, this book is packed with information, and draws on thousands of years of medical texts and studies on every aspect of human physiology. Rather than looking at modern laboratories, Nestor shows us that there is merit in looking back and examining ancient practices.
Nestor is a journalist, not a scientist, and this does actually add a genuine feel to what could be deemed anecdotal in places. It feels that he is on the health journey with us and puts into practice what he suggests in the book. Regardless of how much you take from this, you will certainly never breath in the same way again.
And Breath……………..(you got this!)