Breathing is something we do naturally, often without thinking. But many of us are doing it completely wrong, according to science journalist James Nestor. He spent a decade investigating all the ways we breathe and compiled the information into the instant bestseller Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art released May 2020.


Nasal breathing also cleans the air you breathe, thanks to tiny hairlike filters in the nasal cavity called cilia that act as filters. Cilia capture dust, pollution, allergens, smoke, bacteria, viruses and assorted other debris in the air you inhale and traps it in the mucous. From there, the debris is eventually pushed into your throat and swallowed.


Nose breathing also forces you to use your diaphragm, the muscle that sits below the lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing — or belly breathing (as opposed to chest breathing) — increases the efficiency of the lungs by activating the lower lobes, which contain a larger percentage of blood than the upper lobes.