Ep. 208 – The Underestimated Power of Breathing with James Nestor
I have the honor of connecting with James Nestor today! James is a science journalist and author of the book Breath. Breath was one of my favorite books to read in 2021! It was awarded the prize for Best General Nonfiction Book of 2020 by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and shortlisted for the Royal Society Best Science book of 2020. It explores the million-year-long history of how humans have lost the ability to breathe properly and why we suffer from issues like snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, autoimmune disease, and allergies.
James traveled the world in his effort to figure out what went wrong and how to fix our ability to breathe properly. He did not discover the answers in pulmonology labs but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo.
In this episode, James and I dive into how humans have become poor breathers and how crooked teeth contribute to poor breathing. We discuss the nasal anatomy and the impact it has on poor breathing. We talk about alternate nostril breathing, the vagus nerve, the anatomical changes that occur with aging, how overeaters become over-breathers, chewing, and how our palates and facial bones have evolved and changed. We also get into James’s experience in the Paris catacombs and the impact of breathwork on the autonomic nervous system.
I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I did recording it! Stay tuned for more!