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Kristine’s Book Club: “Breath” by James Nestor

by Kristine Fredheim on July 15, 2021

This month, we’re reading the international bestseller “Breath” by James Nestor - it’s really the ultimate resource on the lost art of breathing!

Before we dig in, I have a question: When was the last time you checked in with your breath? Are you breathing short, upper chest breaths through the mouth? If that’s the case, here’s a truth bomb: you can experience difficulties focusing, as well as insomnia, stress, anxiety and burn out. To boot: digestive problems, snoring, body temperature issues… the list is long! 

This is why I wanted to share James Nestor’s work; he writes about the importance of breathing better and how it can improve your health. 

Earlier this year, I took a course to become a breath coach and learned something incredibly interesting, which Nestor covers; on one side of the neck, there’s a nerve that stimulates the nervous system. It’s called the “Vagus nerve”. Have you ever wondered why it feels so good to hymn or sing? It’s because the Vagus nerve is being stimulated and communicates to the nervous system to chill the f out. This also happens when we breathe through the nose! So whenever you’re feeling frazzled, anxious, nervous, stressed out (all the high energy feels!), try to breathe consciously through the nose; preferably, inhale for a count of 4, hold for 2 beats and exhale for a count of 4. Continue this cycle for 10 rounds and you’ll feel way more calm. This is even a wonderful grounding exercise, as it slows down excess mind energy and centers your life force. I fully believe that when you can control your breath, you can control your energy. 

I highly recommend getting into breath work and implementing it as a daily practice for 5-10 minutes. And if you’re into meditation, it’s about to get even better… when you take notice of your breathing, it’s virtually impossible for the mind to wander. Especially if you try my favorite breathwork exercise called “alternating nasal breathing”! This one is specifically a game changer for anyone dealing with PTSD, trauma and overall chaotic energy. 

Here’s how you can practice in two easy steps! 

STEP 1: Place your thumb on your right nostril and inhale only through the left. It’s important to always start inhaling through the left nostril and end on an exhale through the left as well - it’s connected to calming energy. Each time you inhale, seal and change sides.
STEP 2: Seal the left nostril and exhale through the right. Inhale through the right, seal, exhale through the left! 

Set your timer on and practice for a minimum 5 minutes a day! I do this in the morning to help set the tone for my day. I repeat it before bed if there’s been a lot of high energy. 

In case this is super confusing, here’s one of my favorite gals, Adriene!

Watch your life transform! Happy breathing.




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