“’Body by Breath’ is a blueprint for working through the physical and emotional storms caused by trauma or injury. It’s like Jill gives you a giant warm hug of facts about navigating your body and mind, and then she holds your hand to guide you step by step through practices to build physical and emotional intelligence. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from this book.” – Dr. Theresa Larson, PT, DPT, CSCS, Marine Corps veteran, and author of ‘Warrior’
While people can endure weeks without food or water, a few minutes without breath can be fatal. Our breath goes beyond mere survival; it significantly impacts our life’s quality, serving as a powerful tool for relaxation, health, empowerment, and overall well-being. Breathing forms the core of our existence and profoundly affects both our physical and emotional well-being.
In this review, we will explore how the book ‘Body by Breath’ delves into the profound impact of breath and presents practical techniques to optimise our physiological function and improve the way we live.
Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT, is a renowned figure in the world of fitness, yoga, and pain management.
As the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and the creator of Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method, she has over 30 years of experience in anatomy and movement. Known as the Teacher’s Teacher, she has trained numerous movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists in her groundbreaking self-care fitness programming, which is used in athletic and medical facility programs worldwide.
What is the book about?
‘Body by Breath‘ is an extensive guide that delves into the profound impact of breath on overall well-being. Emphasising the importance of breath in our daily lives, the book presents over 100 practical techniques and exercises to harness the connection between the body and breath, optimising physiological function.
The book centres on four core exercises for building resilience: breathwork, movement, rolling, and non-sleep deep rest, offering a wide range of benefits like increased power, endurance, enhanced self-regulation skills, and relief from pain, among others.
The book is divided into two main sections:
1. ‘The Path of Breath Embodiment’ – This section delves into the anatomy and physiology of breath, with a particular focus on fascia’s role in healthy breathing. It provides a scientific understanding of the breathing body.
2. ‘Body by Breath Exercises’ – This section offers a gallery of curated exercises, encompassing breath, self-massage, movement, and deep rest, all designed to bolster the relaxation response and provide immediate relaxation strategies.
Throughout the book, ‘Breathe with Me’ boxes introduce exercises to familiarise readers with the concepts discussed. Links to videos and podcasts complement the text, promoting embodied learning and accommodating various learning styles.
Table of contents
- Part 1. The Path of Breath Embodiment
- 1. Breath, Stress, Posture & Resilience
- 2. Diaphragm Dynamics
- 3. An Embodied Tour of the Vagus
- 4. Basic Breath Physiology & Biomechanics
- 5. Fascia Fundamentals
- 6. Fascia & Your Sensing Systems
- 7. Head, Neck, Face, Voice & Airways
- 8. Your Breathing Brain
- 9. Breath’s Role in Recovery
- Part 2. Body by Breath Exercises
- 10. Getting Started with Exercises
- 11. Breathe Exercises
- 12. Roll Exercises
- 13. Move Exercises
- 14. Yoga Nidra/NSDR
- 15. Sample Practices
- Epilogue: The Anatomy of Peace
- Appendix A: Working with Your Scars
- Appendix B: Diastasis Recti: A Syndrome Highlighting
- Breath & Fascia Interplay
Key takeaways from ‘Body by Breath’
1Practising breathwork offers a multitude of benefits
Breathwork from ‘Body by Breath’ offers a wide range of health and performance benefits. Athletes gain increased power, endurance, and recovery ability while enhancing core strength and heart health. Movement educators find self-regulation and emotional resilience, while business professionals improve executive function and stress management. It provides relief for injuries and chronic pain, aids meditation, supports pregnant/new parents, and aids COVID-19 recovery by enhancing airway flow and addressing fascial restrictions.
2Breathing exercises optimise brain function and health
In ‘Body by Breath,’ Jill Miller explores breath’s profound significance as a foundational brain rhythm, influencing critical regions like the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Nasal breathing benefits cognitive function and emotional regulation, it also plays its role in enhancing memory, decision-making, and brain health through increased nitric oxide and improved air filtration. Prioritising nose breathing can optimise overall well-being and brain interactions tied to breath.
3Breathwork is an excellent tool to improve physical performance
Breathwork enhances physical performance by increasing power, endurance, and recovery ability. Proper breath techniques optimise athletic performance and reduce fatigue. Effective recovery is vital for overall well-being, as chronic stress in the diaphragm and respiratory muscles can lead to burnout and declining performance. Balancing training with activities that promote relaxation through the parasympathetic nervous system is crucial. Monitoring heart rate variability (HRV) helps assess recovery and stress tolerance. Building parasympathetic capacity fosters resilience and faster recovery. Breath training and abdominal massage aid flexibility and performance improvement. Prioritising recovery, breath, and the parasympathetic nervous system lead to peak performance and quicker regeneration.
Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Filled with practical, achievable exercises backed by science and practice.
Crisp photography and clear graphics enhance understanding and visual appeal.
Layout of information and QR code tutorials make content easy to understand and apply.
Heavy emphasis on detailed anatomy may overwhelm some readers, especially beginners.
The text can be perceived as advanced, making it less accessible for novices seeking a more straightforward approach.
Best quotes from ‘Body by Breath’
“Our twenty-first-century bodies are bombarded with more arousing stimuli than at any other point in evolution. The lure of electronic devices and the harnessing of our brain by the internet and a twenty-four-hour society has made anxiety-related illness more prevalent than ever.”
“All your basic metabolic demands can be reduced to whether your trillions of cells can transport gases across their membranes to use oxygen (02) as fuel and exchange it for the waste product of carbon dioxide (CO2). The movement of 02 and CO2 across cell walls requires the presence of extra CO2 as a transporter of sorts.”
“You don't have to crush your soft tissues to get them to submit. In fact, the more you bully your soft tissues, the more you arouse your body's innate defense mechanism. Instead of helping them recover, you're encouraging them to run for cover. They brace in response to threat, via the muscle spindle response, and other nearby muscles rally to protect the tissue that's under a perceived attack.”
‘Body by Breath’ by Jill Miller is a comprehensive and valuable guide that explores the profound impact of breath on overall well-being. The book provides practical and achievable exercises, supported by science and practice, to harness the connection between the body and breath.
Readers seeking to enhance physical performance, improve brain function, and promote relaxation will find this book beneficial. It is also a valuable resource for athletes, movement educators, wellness professionals, and individuals on a journey to optimise their health and well-being through breathwork.
Where to buy
You may purchase ‘Body by Breath’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in hardcover, spiral bound and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.
Receive Exclusive Tips & Weekly Digest – subscribe to our newsletter