Just Breathe, is a bit of a brain dump of all things breathwork and, usually, I’d say there’s simply too much to take in.
But it just might be a great lockdown read, introducing many different breathing techniques that could help improve your mental and physical health over an unprecedented period. It’s a quick and easy read, but you wouldn’t even have to read it from front to back. Instead, use it as a guide, flicking it open on a day when you’re feeling isolated, anxious, or tired, and attempt one of the many practical exercises Dan Brulé provides.
Brulé is ‘a modern-day teacher, healer, and a world-renowned pioneer in the field of breathwork’ and one of ‘the creators of Breath Therapy’ . His knowledge and experience of breathwork is evident in this book.
But he’s clearly not a writer and would benefit from a slightly better editor. If you can get past the slightly odd structure and the occasional grammatical error, the information is interesting and extensive.
The anecdotes and side stories used to show when breathwork has been effective, work well. In chapter two, Brulé uses his Navy experience to explain how breathwork benefitted his training, citing the physical and psychological elements of running, boxing, and even scuba-diving. He also uses other people’s experiences of successful breathwork, including a Navy SEAL Commander, Elite Blade Fighter, Russian Martial Arts Master, and even an encounter with Indira Gandhi, former prime minister of India.
Introducing so many different people and breathwork ‘masters’, means Brulé writes about numerous practices, from beginner’s techniques such as box breathing, to more advanced options such as Rebirthing Breathwork. In many ways this works well – here’s a book that suits any reader! Whether you’ve practised breathwork extensively or are a complete newbie, there’s a technique for you to try.
But, providing so much information creates problems. It’s impractical to explain so many techniques in one book, so Brulé resorts to inserting (too many) web addresses. Reading a book that requires you to stop and open a webpage can be frustrating – it’s not unreasonable to expect the creator of Breath Therapy to be able to explain himself, rather than rely on someone else.
BUT we have been given the gift of time…lockdown 2.0 can be seen as stressful and unpleasant, or we can use it as an opportunity to delve into the mountain of information this book provides. A ‘21-day Breath Mastery Challenge’ at the end of the book could be a brilliant way to reduce stress, anxiety, and keep you feeling fresh. Brulé’s ‘10 + 10 + (10 x 2)’ structure – ‘10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at night, and 10 times during the day for two minutes’ – might seem impractical during a usual day, but over lockdown maybe it’s possible.
Similarly, the book suggests keeping a journal to document how different breathing techniques make you feel and compare how effective they are. Ordinarily, finding such time might be problematic – perhaps this is the perfect time to try it out.
Here’s the honest truth… this is a difficult book to read for pleasure, but if you REALLY want to learn and about breathwork, this is the book for you. It’s a gem of information and will provide many benefits when put into practice. Give it a go!