13 Best Breathing & Breathwork Books for Your Healing Journey

December 21, 2021
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Despite breathwork’s increasing popularity, many do not understand the science behind breathing practices. Many also are not aware of the cultural, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of breathwork that make it so powerful. Understanding the theories and facts associated with breathwork will not only increase your knowledge, but also strengthen your practice to make it even more intentional, effective, and fulfilling.  

You may be new to breathwork, a seasoned practitioner, or just curious on how breathwork can benefit you. In any case, this article will point to informative books on breathwork to give you groundbreaking context, knowledge, and perspective.

The books in these categories will help you learn more about breathwork from practical, theoretical, and holistic standpoints:

  • Best books on breathwork and breathing techniques
  • Best books on breathing and its importance
  • Other related books you might like

To begin curating your bookshelf, let’s first look at the best books on breathwork and techniques.

Best books on breathwork and breathing techniques 

Reading books on breathwork can help you set the foundation for your breathwork practice. If you want to gain an understanding of the foundational principles of breathwork as a whole – as well as specific breathwork techniques – check out these 4 popular books.

Image of ‘The Oxygen Advantage’ book cover

1. The Oxygen Advantage

Author: Patrick McKeown

Published: 2016

Main Topic: Breathwork  

Patrick McKeown, Founder and Clinical Director of Buteyko Clinic International, uses cutting-edge medical research to identify and explore one of the biggest challenges to fitness and health: chronic over-breathing. The Oxygen Advantage provides a science-based program of transformational breathing exercises that’s explained in simple layman's terms and designed to help you achieve better wellness.  

Image of ‘Conscious Breathing’ book cover

2. Conscious Breathing: Discover the Power of Your Breath

Author: Anders Olsson

Published: 2014

Main Topic: Breathwork, Science

This well-researched book delves into the science of breathing, including the importance of breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. It also explores how you can use intentional breathing to reduce stress, increase your energy, improve your performance, treat insomnia, relieve pain, and achieve weight loss.

Image of ‘Breathe’ book cover

3. Breathe

Author: Belisa Vranich

Published: 2016

Main Topic: Breathwork exercises 

This book on breathwork teaches you how to deal with the mental and physical stressors of daily modern life with practical breathwork exercises. Author Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience.

Image of ‘Just Breathe’ book cover”

4. Just Breathe

Author: Dan Brulé

Published: 2018

Main Topic: Breathwork and spirituality 

Called “the definitive breathwork handbook” by personal development powerhouse Tony Robbins, Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork is a foundational guide to breathwork. Written by a breathwork pioneer, this book contains a plethora of different techniques to practice that combine practical application with spirituality. So you’ll understand exactly how controlling your breathing controls your state of being.

Best books on breathing and its importance

It’s important to understand breathwork’s science and practical application, of course. But also understanding the different types of breathwork practices in their cultural and historical contexts will deepen and enhance your experience and healing. Check out these books about breathing that focus on how and why breathwork is important.

Image of ‘Breath’ book cover

5. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Author: James Nestor

Published: 2020

Main Topic: Breathwork and culture

This New York Times bestselling book on breathwork takes a worldy historical and cultural approach to understanding why humans have shifted from nasal breathing to chronic mouth breathing – and why that matters. Author and journalist James Nestor draws on studies in the fields of pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology to explain why breathing properly is crucial for your health.

Image of ‘Holotropic Breathwork’ book cover

6. Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy

Author: Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof 

Published: 2010

Main Topic: Holotropic breathwork

In this foundational book, the creators of holotropic breathwork delve into the worlds of psychotherapy, psychology, and self-exploration. As they do so, they reveal the ways in which psychedelic and non-ordinary states of consciousness, achieved through breathwork, can have profound healing effects. This book on breathwork is advised for anyone considering participating in a holotropic breathwork experience. 

Image of ‘Feel to Heal’ book cover

7. Feel to Heal

Author: Giten Tonkov

Published: 2019

Main Topic: Breathwork and trauma 

Interweaving history and science, this book about breathwork for trauma explains how the body’s natural healing process works. Whether you’ve suffered from PTSD, chronic tension, pain, irritability, or symptoms of depression, you’ll learn how processing trauma stored in the body through intentional and conscious breathwork can be profoundly freeing and healing. The book will also prepare you for a breathwork session with a trained breathwork instructor. 

Image of book cover

8. The Wim Hof Method

Author: Wim Hof

Published: 2020

Main Topic: Wim Hof breathwork method

This popular book uses a unique narrative structure to explore a 3-part framework for how breathwork can make you more mentally and physically fit. It’s written by the creator of the Wim Hof Method, a technique that combines breathwork exercises and cold therapy.

Other related books you might like

Breathwork is intrinsically tied to wellness. Check out these books that touch on healing, wellness, and holistic aspects of personal development. 

Image of ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ book cover

9. The Body Keeps the Score

Author: Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

Published: 2015

Main Topic: Trauma

In this New York Times bestseller, trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk uses science to explain how trauma impacts the body and brain. He explores how to process and cope with trauma through practices (including breathwork!) that activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. 

Image of Breathe To Heal book cover

10. Breathe To Heal: Break Free from Asthma

Author: Sasha Yakovleva

Published: 2016

Main Topic: Asthma and breathwork, health 

This book focuses specifically on breathwork exercises and techniques to prevent asthma attacks. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn the revolutionary breathwork practices and exercises that will encourage a more natural and wholesome breathing pattern. The author is also an expert on the Buteyko Breathing Normalization Method.

Image of ‘Light on Pranayama’ book cover

11. Light on Pranayama

Author: B.K.S. Iyenger 

Published: 2013

Main Topic: Yoga and Pranayama 

Authored by the founder of Iyengar Yoga, this book about breathwork is a deep dive into pranayama practices. Through reading it, you’ll learn about the power of the breath through yogic philosophy. It’s a great book for both new and experienced yoga teachers.

Image of ‘Secret Power of Tantrik Breathing’ book cover

12. Secret Power of Tantrik Breathing

Author: Swami Sivapriyananda

Published: 2009

Main Topic: Tantric breathing 

This book on tantric breathing combines yogic philosophy and spirituality to explain the close relationship between breathing and emotional states. This breathwork book explores how the energy in your breath relates to the chakras and energy channels in your body, known as “nadis”. 

Image of The Art of Breathing book cover

13. The Art of Breathing: The Secret to Living Mindfully

Author: Danny Penman, Ph.D 

Published: 2018

Main Topic: Mindfulness and breath 

This book, from  international best-selling author Dr. Danny Penman, explores how to use the breath to let go and minimizing anxiety and stress. This guide shows you how to live a more whole and meaningful life with nothing but a chair, your body, the air, and your mind.

Like meditation, there are a multitude of breathwork practices that all boast their own unique benefits. But they can all have profound effects on your life. So strengthening your knowledge of them from a scientific, cultural, or philosophical standpoint can be an incredibly empowering act. It can lead you to more meaningful breathwork experiences and deeper healing. 

Maybe now you’re wondering how to pair the knowledge you’ll learn from these expert-written books with a practical application. If you’re ready to try breathwork, explore the Othership app for free today.