I am so sorry. I didn't realize how much I was taking you for granted. I should have appreciated you more. Now that I finally know how much I need you—how much you mean to me—I hope it is not too late to make a new start. Will you forgive me? I promise to make it up to you.
Yeah. So okay. That was long overdue. It wasn't until I read Breath, by James Nestor, that I discovered the error of my ways. It's like missing a truth that is staring you right in the face. How is it that we miss the things that are right in front of us every day?
I must say Breath is, by far, one of the most stunning books I have ever read. As a lifelong athlete, and former coach, I thought I knew quite a bit about proper breathing. Wrong!
This book was a journey of discovery... a revelation. After the first few pages, I lost count of the epiphanies I was having—or that were having me. The author had me at this:
the greatest indicator of life span wasn't genetics, diet, or the amount of daily exercise, as many had suspected. It was lung capacity.
And, it turns out, we can increase our lung capacity by 30-40 percent just by knowing how to breathe right. If that is the case, why wouldn't we want to learn how to do so? Who doesn't want to live longer and with greater wellness?
This book blends the author's personal quest to find solutions to his own health crises while seeking out other "pulmonauts" who are finding new, and old, ways of helping their patients address any number of serious medical conditions: immune disorders, high blood pressure, weight challenges, anxiety, asthma, sleep apnea, dental issues, and so much more.
We learn that 90 percent of us do not breathe correctly. Also, those who are least healthy among us are overbreathing. Overbreathing? Did we ever imagine too much breathing could be bad? Or that too little carbon dioxide was harming us? How much is too much or too little? What is the right amount? How do we achieve that balance? What is the proper breathing rhythm? How can we attain that?
And then there is mouthbreathing vs. nosebreathing. The negatives of mouthbreathing, as illustrated by the author's own clinical experimentation, should be more than enough to make every single one of us avoid it like the plague. Who knew just how bad the effects could be?
But wait, there's more: left nostril vs. right nostril breathing. Ever thought about that? No? Neither had I. Breathe through the left, lower body temperature and blood pressure—reduce anxiety. Breathe through the right, speed up circulation, heat up your body, and increase your heart rate.
Which brings us to this: What is the deal about the erectile tissue in the nose? Um, I'll let you read about that for yourself. That was probably my first big shock while reading Breath.
There is so much more that will astound you when you read Breath. This book is filled with wonder. It left me with a completely new sense of awe for my body and how everything is so intricately, and beautifully, connected to my breathing. I gained renewed hope in discovering just how resilient and malleable our organs, and vital systems, can be when we know how to take simple health-reversing actions.
Throughout my life, whenever asked what part of my body I disliked the most, I always said it was my nose. I'll never feel that way again after learning the truth about the magnificence of my nose. It is so much more than the first line of defense against the invaders that would cause me harm. I have gained such a tremendous respect and appreciation for what my nose does for me every second of every day.
In a single breath, more molecules of air will pass through your nose than all the grains of sand on all the world's beaches—trillions and trillions of them. As they make their way toward you, they'll twist and spool like the stars in a Van Gogh sky...
There is something to be gained by everyone who delves into the mystery we call breathing. Every 3.3 seconds we have the opportunity for transformation. Breathe it in... and be the brilliance of that Van Gogh sky.
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