Truro Library Book Group
The June selection is Breath : The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
Books will be available in-library or curbside pickup.
The Book group is now meeting inside the Library. If you would like to join virtually, please email Maggie to receive an Zoom invite.
A science journalist takes a measured look at the way we breathe and finds it out of whack. “No matter what we eat, how much we exercise, how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are–none of it will matter unless we are breathing correctly.” So writes Nestor, who, having suffered breathing problems, followed a doctor’s suggestion to take a breathing class. What he found set him on a long chain of discovery into the realms of the most modern science and the most ancient wisdom, leading to this readable treatise on improving the way we breathe. A great many of us could stand to improve. By Nestor’s measure, about half of us are “habitual mouthbreathers,” which leads to all sorts of structural, physical, and medical consequences. Things should be happening in the nose instead, even if “for the past century, the prevailing belief in Western medicine was that the nose was more or less an ancillary organ.” The nose is key, for using it properly can clear up breathing obstructions and militate against the “dysevolution” caused over countless millennia by the lowering of the larynx to permit speech. Instead, notes the author, nose breathing widens the airways and makes breathing easier, with success building on success to clear up breathing problems such as the ones he’d been laboring under. In the way of an ancient master of prana–or chi, pneuma, atma, and many another spiritually resonant term–Nestor offers the lessons he learned from pulmonologists and “pulmonauts” alike. These include what he calls “the perfect breath”: breathing in deeply through the nose for 5.5 seconds and out for 5.5 seconds, which yields 5.5 breaths a minute. It’s free, he counsels happily, “and you can do it wherever you are, whenever you need.” A welcome, invigorating user’s manual for the respiratory system.