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:
To begin curating your bookshelf, let’s first look at the best books on breathwork and 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.
Author: Patrick McKeown
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.
Author: Anders Olsson
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.
Author: Belisa Vranich
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.
Author: Dan Brulé
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.
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.
Author: James Nestor
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.
Author: Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof
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.
Author: Giten Tonkov
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.
Author: Wim Hof
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.
Breathwork is intrinsically tied to wellness. Check out these books that touch on healing, wellness, and holistic aspects of personal development.
Author: Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
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.
Author: Sasha Yakovleva
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.
Author: B.K.S. Iyenger
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.
Author: Swami Sivapriyananda
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”.
Author: Danny Penman, Ph.D
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.
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