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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team


Updated: May 22

Episode 21 of the Airway First podcast is now out! You can catch it on SoundCloud, Podbean, Anchor, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

James Nestor on Airway First Podcast

My guest today is award-winning author, James Nestor. He is an author and journalist who has written for Scientific American, Outside Magazine, BBC, The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR, and many more. His latest book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, explores how the human species has lost the ability to breathe properly and more importantly, how we can get it back.

Breath spent 18 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list in its first year of release, sold more than one million copies, and was awarded the Best General Nonfiction book of 2020 by the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

James has spoken around the world including at Stanford Medical School, Harvard Medical School, The United Nations, and more than 60 radio and television shows.

We are proud also to have James as a member of the Children’s Airway First Advisory Board.

You can find out more about James at

You cannot diagnose someone with serveral chronic issues without looking at their breathing. ~ James Nestor

Show Notes:


Accomplished, by Karese Laguerre

“A fascinating scientific, cultural, spiritual and evolutionary history of the way humans breathe - and how we’ve all been doing it wrong for a long, long time.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love)

No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: Take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren’t found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.

Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.

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