James Nestor is helping us to Breathe
A Review of this Polmanuats Playground
Research journalist James Nestor finds himself deep in the lost art of breathing. His new book, Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art, was an instant success. Released in May of this year (2020) it’s already being translated into over 30 languages.
It was during a conversation via ZOOM with a couple of my Kundalini sisters that I remember first hearing about the book. “I pre-ordered mine today!” one of them said.
Curious, I wrote it down to look up after our meeting.
Not 24 hours later I was in an online breathwork class with Canadian breathwork coach Dan de Luis of Subramanya Yoga and he mentioned the book as well.
Over the next couple of months I couldn’t turn around without someone mentioning this book.
Recently I took a Breath Coach training with Lucas Rockwood of YogaBody and he said it’s probably the best book ever written on breath.
These were some strong accolades from leaders in the breath community.
Okay, okay, I’m buying this book.
I head into Barnes & Noble and grab one of the two remaining copies on the shelf. The cover is an inviting yellow with candy dots connecting in a chain to create a set of lungs. When I get home my jacket is plopped on the floor and I’m not even fully seated when I open the first page.
From the first sentence I am drawn in. Feeling as though I am with Mr. Nestor on his journey. You can almost feel the dank dark San Francisco flat as the journey into a transformational breath experience begins.
You are taken with him on a journey through a variety of breathing experiences. You can feel the struggle and agony as he goes through a two week experiment where he is forced to mouth breathe. As his health problems begin to pile high you’ll find yourself wanting to reach into the pages and make the experiment end.
You know this guy is committed to his journey when you discover that he paid a lot of money to have these unhealthy mouth-breathing studies forced upon him.
Nestor has the opportunity to meet with breath experts from all over the planet. People he refers to as Polmanuats, a term I immediately fell in love with. His research brings him from San Francisco, where he lives, to rogue adventures through the catacombs of Paris.
This guy really puts himself on the line.
He does every experiment and trend. He looks at how the food we eat is changing our facial structure and is at the root of many health problems today.
As a researcher, Nestor approaches the subject from every angle. It’s one of the reasons the book resonates with so many people.
It’s not coming to you with any philosophy or lineage to grow from. Nestor talks to everyone from yogi’s to doctors. He finds that throughout our history this information has continued to resurface and get buried. From ancient civilization to modern myth he leaves no stone unturned.
In a simple manner he is able to bring you along with him as these polmanuats share their knowledge of breathwork and the mis-information about carbon dioxide’s role in our bodies.
For me one of the signs of a really good book is how slowly I read the last few chapters. As I saw this book coming to an end I found myself slowing down and savoring every word.
It was a fun and educational journey. I had made a friend over the week the book laid in my hands. James and I had just traveled around the world in our breathing practices. Meeting all kinds of like minded individuals and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
You’ll be pleased to know that the book includes 30 pages of notes and references. I told you, Mr. Nestor is a researcher. Typically I’m not the kind to dive into the side notes and links. Usually reading what the author puts forth is enough for me. Not this time. I have been going through the notes, and referring back to the sections in the book that are noted.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a fan. Having subjected myself to many of the breathing techniques he lays forth, including running with my mouth taped shut to build up my CO2 tolerance.
This book is packed with information that any aspiring polmanuat will be enthralled with.
The book still lay on my nightstand weeks later. I am not quite ready to put it on the shelf to sit next to all my other favorites. The plan is to read it once more before that happens.
In the meantime I have started taking in every podcast and source I can where James is invited to talk about his book. Along with all the wonderful characters he meets along his path, you too will be introduced to these fabulous people and all their research.
I find myself in a web of information. All helping me to breathe fuller and with more intention.
Two thumbs up, Five Star review from this nasal nerd.
Do yourself a favor. Invest in your health by reading this easy to follow practical guide to breathing. James Nestor turned his life around using the power of breath, and so can you.