Episode #15 The Power of Breath with James Nestor

Body of Wonder Podcast

Breathing is an essential function of the body influencing nearly every organ and metabolic process. We average 20,000 breaths per day, often without much thought.
Breathwork, or the action of controlled breathing, is a powerful and simple technique that can be used to alter physical and mental states. Studies show that it can regulate the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and even reduce stress.
As vital as breathing is to our health, as a species, we are losing the ability to breathe properly. Human beings evolved to breathe through the nose, which warms and moistens the air and traps particles and pathogens. Every inhale provides our brain with a chemical analysis of our surroundings and engages our nervous system. 

Over the last century, humans have developed airway restrictions at an alarming rate, many of which have been linked to ailments, like hypertension, that extend beyond just the respiratory system. The good news is that poor breathing is reversible.
Our guest on this episode is science journalist, James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. Nestor has spent a decade learning from breathing experts, including scientists, doctors, and yogis, and investigating our understanding of breath throughout the centuries. 
Nestor joins Dr. Andrew Weil & Dr. Victoria Maizes to share his insights, including:
·         How humans become poor breathers
·         Physical abnormalities that rise from mouth breathing
·         Changing how you inhale and exhale can drastically improve your health
We learn about the physiological influence of breath and speculate on why breathwork has been widely underutilized by modern medicine.
We invite you to take a deep breath and join us for this fascinating look at breathing. 
If you’d like to practice the 4-7-8 breath after the episode, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRPh_GaiL8s .

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

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Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD


James Nestor

James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Scientific American, Outside, The New York Times, and more. His latest book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, was released in May 2020 by Riverhead/Penguin Random House and was an instant New York Times and London Sunday Times bestseller. Breath explores how the human species has lost the ability to breathe properly--and how to get it back. To date, Breath has sold more than 2.5 million copies and and has been translated into more than 35 languages. Breath was awarded the Best General Nonfiction Book by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and was a Finalist for Science Book of the Year by the Royal Society. Nestor has spoken at Stanford Medical School, Yale School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the United Nations, and more. He lives and breathes in San Francisco. Website: Mrjamesnestor.com. Instagram: instagram.com/mrjamesnestor

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