11 Best Books on Breathing and Breathwork (to Read in 2024)

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You can go a month or so without food, you can go a week-ish without water, but you can’t go much more than 5 minutes without breath.

Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if you’re new to breath work, or are a seasoned yogi who has been practicing for years, this list is for you.

The breath is the bridge between the seen and the unseen. While on my own healing journey, I’ve incorporated studying the breath and making it a regular ritual to train myself to control the breath through intentional practice. 

How you are breathing determines if the body is releasing stress hormones, or relaxant hormones. You have more control over the breath than you realize.

This list of books will get you started on your journey, and give you a deeper knowledge and understanding of the power of your breath.

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Buteyko’s work. This book is about the Buteyko Method breathing exercises to reduce and even eliminate symptoms of asthma.

I was one of those people who had to have an inhaler with them. Until I understood how I was breathing for several people and I needed to normalize my breathing patterns, I have had no need for an inhaler for over 5 years since incorporating the method into my personal care ritual.

This alternative self help therapy does not have any side effects and the benefits are sleeping easier, reduced symptoms of asthma and less breathing issues.

This book was written by K. P. Buteyko, MD-PhD, the originator of the Buteyko technique, A.E. Novozhilov, MD, Medical Director of Clinica Buteyko in Moscow and Sasha Yakovleva, co-founder of BreathingCenter.com.

Wim Hof, aka the Ice Man, teamed together with science to prove that breath control and cold training can boost the immune system, increase energy levels, and head off the development of many diseases.

The cold is his teacher and the breath his guide. The science is solid and the results are measurable. The method is deceptively simple and incredibly powerful.

Improve your body’s oxygen use, improve your health, improve sports performance, and do more with less effort. How you breathe is the most basic yet overlooked function in the body.

Patrick says chronic over-breathing is one of the biggest obstacles to better health and well being.

Without realizing it, we will take in more breaths than we need, gasping, and taking in large amounts through an open mouth can contribute to poor health including symptoms of panic and anxiety.

Dan Brulé is a world leading breath-master with a collection of breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, detox your body, balance your health, and increase productivity.

What if simply controlling your breath could control your outcomes?

This revolutionary book reveals what athletes, Navy SEALs, and spiritual yogis have always known.

You can control your state of well being and performance level when you can control your breathing. Other side effects are optimized health, a clear and calm mind, and it all comes from your own natural source of power literally right under your nose!

A revolutionary approach to releasing trauma with breath work. This book puts relief in the hands of those who need it and it can be done at home. In order to heal the effects of trauma the body’’s natural healing processes need to be activated.

This book teaches average people how to break the trauma cycle, improve relationships and have a more healthy and fulfilling life.

The approach integrates breath-work with movement, conscious touch, sound, expression and meditation to let the body heal itself intuitively. This process helps people understand and release their trauma through the breath.

A simple and practical guide on breathing techniques that will improve your physical and mental health and will reestablish proper breathing and this book includes many pictures and illustrations.

Donna Farhi is an internationally known yoga instructor who teaches these safe, easy to learn breathing exercises to reduce stress, reduce symptoms of asthma, depression, insomnia, and many other health disorders.

Holotropic means ‘moving toward wholeness’. This work brings a unique healing potential for releasing trauma from childhood memories, infancy, birth and prenatal life.

This simple combination of accelerated breathing, evocative music, and bodywork induces healing in a safe and supportive setting.

The work includes modern consciousness research, psychology, Eastern spiritual practice and mystical traditions.

This book summarizes the remarkable insights in a clear, easy-to-understand style. This is not a how to book, it is recommended to work with a trained practitioner. If you want to learn more about this healing technique, definitely start with this book.

This simple yet comprehensive book spells out a program that can be incorporated into your everyday practice to improve energy, and increase mental clarity.

How we are breathing influences how we feel.

Gay Hendricks has refined the most important parts of the practice and created a healing tool with measurable benefits including lowered blood pressure, reduction in pain, depression and anxiety, all by practicing for as little as ten minutes a day.

The book includes eight key breathing exercises with step by step instructions and illustrations.

In 2003, when James first started speaking about breath-work, only about 5% of the audience knew what it was. Now when he speaks about breath-work, 95% of people raise their hands when asked if they know what it is. Most respond that they learned about breath-work from taking a yoga class.

The book started out as a 45-page yoga teacher training manual to help new yoga teachers understand the difference between pranayama and breathwork and now the book includes thirteen pranayamas and several various styles of breathwork.

We are given the analogy of a windmill and how it uses wind to create energy. Our chakras along the spine are energy points or windmills producing the energy needed to sustain life.

If you practice yoga, chances are you do breath-work. The vital systems in the body depend on this prana that we freely allow, or unconsciously restrict. Through the breath, prana supplies our lungs with an abundant supply of oxygen.

When our body gets what it needs, it boosts the immune system and calms the mind. Memory is improved and well as overall well being. Pranayam are breathing exercises that calm the mind and create space for the body to heal.

This book is about what Lee learned while participating in the Wim Hof Method program, which he refers to as the Homo Arcticus Method that includes the three pillars.

  1. Breathing.
  2. Cold therapy.
  3. Commitment.

You are encouraged to try it yourself and begin to see positive changes in your mental and physical health with only practicing 15-20 minutes a day.

This list is by no means complete, it is only a beginning for your journey in connecting to the healing power of your breath. A few of these suggestions can take a bit of time and practice to get through but the rewards are limitless.

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Website: Heartfelt Awakening

Deni Van is a spiritual counselor, author, speaker, closet researcher, and host of Heartfelt Awakening Podcast.

She creates personal and spiritual development courses online and presents live workshops supporting women going through life transitions, who are ready to find their purpose so they can create more inner peace, develop a focused mindset, and better their relationships with those closest to them.