I’m so glad I chose start my year by listening to Breathe: a practical guide to breathwork exercises by Rebecca Dennis. It’s a short audiobook, only four hours and ten minutes long, that you can dip into for escape, inspiration and relaxation whenever you like. I enjoy the concept of meditation, but have struggled with the focus on discipline and mastery. Breathe simply gives you the tools and let’s you use them as you wish. You can either take five minutes out to decompress or spend half an hour manifesting your inner creativity. There are no expectations – this is about you and your needs, not some higher purpose.
Before I launch into the review, I would mention that although Fearne Cotton is name-checked in the official title, she only narrates the foreword. It’s a nice testimonial but not really a part of the listening experience.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for letting me access this free audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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Britain’s number one breath coach presents a practical audio guide to breathwork.
We breathe around 20,000 times per day, but how often do we think about how we breathe, and the power of our breath? Breathwork is being hailed as the next yoga and Rebecca Dennis is on a mission to share her expertise and knowledge, teaching the benefits of breathwork and how it can make you happier, healthier and calmer.
Rebecca Dennis has worked with thousands of clients as a breathwork coach, seeing transformative results. In Breathe she presents her breathwork audio course, which includes over fifteen guided breathing exercises accompanied by soothing music and soundscapes, which can be returned to again and again. Breathe provides a breathwork toolkit to ease stress and anxiety, increase mental focus, boost energy levels, enhance emotional resilience and achieve good sleep health. It will teach you to be aware of your breath, and will show you how to harness the power of your breath and use it to help you thrive in a fast-paced world.
The Power of Breath
It sounds ridiculous to say that breathing is absolutely essential, but the truth is that we forget this basic fact all the time. In Breathe, Rebecca Dennis gently takes us on a journey to discover the power of breath. It can soothe, energize and disrupt our entire being. If we can control our breathing, we can control our body and mind. This is an awe-inspiring and sometimes, uncomfortable realisation. However, it’s a powerful one too.
In this audiobook, we learn about how the respiratory system works so that we’re equipped with an understanding of our physiology. Somehow, the author manages to weave the science in seamlessly so everything connects without jarring the flow.
There is a range of breathing techniques in the audiobook, all for different situations. I found some of them easier than others and as with all exercises, you have to practice them to get the most out of the methods but likewise, you can just dip in if you prefer. Rebecca Dennis’s many years of experience as a mentor are evident in her narration. She guides with calm certainty, which takes the fear factor out of using your breath in new ways.
The last section is particularly useful because it contains a toolkit of shorter breathwork routines for to promote sleep, reduce anxiety and to refocus. You can do some of these when you’re out and about – with audiobook or without (but not while driving or operating machinery!).
I was surprised to find that a portion of the audiobook is about self discovery, especially about the release of pent up emotion. Alhthough not everyone wants to go down this route, I’m happy that Rebecca Dennis touched on this aspect of breathwork. It’s impossible to disconnect the mental from the physical so to truly see the benefit, you have to work on both elements. Despite this, I would still deem Breathe to be a practical, everyday guide. Once you’ve listened to all the techniques, you can pick and choose which areas suit you best.
My only small niggle with the audiobook format is that I would prefer more information in this listings so that I can find sections easily. When you’re immersed in the exercises you don’t really want to be fiddling around with bookmarks. This is something I now need to go back and do.
After listening to Breathe once, I have experienced a greater awareness of my mind and body – especially when stressed (lockdown homeschooling!) and am now able to subtly alter my responses. Small things like relaxing my jaw, or remembering not to hold my breath. My aim is now to embed a couple of the shorter exercises into my day, reserving the longer ones for the weekend. I’ll be updating on the impact of this and the other self improvement books that I’ve listed on my 10 Life-Changing Books for 2021 post every quarter.
If you’re looking for a gentle audiobook guide to help you through a challenging part of your life then I highly recommend checking out the the Breathe audiobook on Audible. I know I’m going to keep turning back to this again and again when I need perspective and calm.