Inhale… Exhale… We breath ten to twenty times a minute, several hundred times an hour, but probably without much thought unless something goes wrong, or attention is brought to the breath, for example in a yoga practice.

For most people though, the understanding of the mechanics of breathing is quite limited; this book seeks to address that.

It’s not a book about breathing for well-being or health, or a book about yogic breathing per se, more a book about the skeletal, muscular and physiological mechanisms of breathing, in effect looking more deeply at the structure behind breathing. This leads to a discussion of the mechanics and mechanisms of breathing, some of which we use automatically and without note, others we may use when bringing awareness to our breath, eg in yoga, others we may use when we need to adapt our breathing, for example when exercising or during illness. We learn about elasticity of the lungs, the movement of the diaphragm, the movement of the ribs, how gravity and physical orientation effect this, and much more.

As a yoga teacher and anatomy geek, this is the sort of book I like – it’s content I’m familiar with on one hand, yet there’s always more for me to learn on the other hand, and there were a handful of things for me to think about and take away here.

I’d recommend this book to yoga teachers and similar looking to reinforce their understanding of the mechanics of breathing, and to the curious student dipping their toes in the water for the first time and wondering if there is more to breathing than just inhale/exhale.

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