Exhale – An overview of Breathwork

by Gunnel Minett

It is no coincidence that the word spirit is closely related to breath in English. The way we breathe has much deeper consequences than we in the West generally recognize and there is a spiritual side to breathing which has been known and recognize throughout human history. This knowledge is gradually re-entering the Western world through various breathing exercises such as yoga and Tai chi. But breathing is not just conscious breathing exercises. It is a central and essential part of human life – to the extent that breathing determines if we are alive or dead. This is explained by Gunnel Minett in her new book Breath of Life.
The book does not just presents an overview of the role of the breath for physical and psychological wellbeing, but also places breath in its wider context. Gunnel Minett describes how it is possible to use the breath to achieve positive changes both for body and mind.
The book also describes the physiology of breathing; the consequences of good and bad breathing habits and the role breathing has for the body’s natural healing potential.
Can such a simple function as breathing have a significant impact on how we live our lives?
Yes, says the author and explains how the way in which we take our very first breaths can influence how we live the rest of our lives. To widen the understanding of the role of breathing, she also draws on Eastern traditional medicine, where breathing plays a much greater role.
Breathing also plays an important role in our psychological wellbeing and this book contributes to a new understanding of psychology and the formation of new disciplines such as transpersonal psychology.


– Kylea Taylor, editor, Inner Door’; A fascinating book which provides an overview of breathwork as a possible alternative to conventional health care. Excellent reading. Very informative for a newcomer in the field. I can recommend this book to anyone who is about to start a breathwork process or who is already in it and wants to deepen their understanding. I can also recommend it to experienced psychotherapists who want to broaden their repertoire into the body and breath area. About the Author Gunnel Minett is a psychologist and renowned breathworker. She was the General Secretary of the International Breathwork Foundation for five years. Her book Breath and Spirit (1994) was translated into several languages. She lives in London, UK.’

— Yoga Scotland, September 2005 ‘The first book that gives such comprehensive information about breathwork in all its aspects, in particular as a healing tool. It is a scholarly work, worthy of careful reading, and ideal for students of breathwork, professional therapists and others wanting to learn more about this therapeutic tool, and how and why it is effective.’

— Vivienne Silver-Leigh, Breathe magazine, December 2004 ‘A resourceful book that gives an overview of the impact breathwork can have in all areas of our lives. Insightful information.’

— Teresa Leong, Light, Summer 2005 ‘Gunnel Minett’s beautiful new book takes us into territory not explored yet in other breathwork books. There is much here, meticulously researched, that could be very useful to Holotropic Breathwork facilitators, as well as teachers. The quotes, the historical tidbits, and the amount of data, in all the areas she discusses, could be especially helpful in presenting Holotropic Breathwork to groups. Exhale is beautifully formatted. The lovely breathwork quotes are added throughout, and there are shaded boxes with exercises to try on your own.’

— Dr Bo Ahrenfelt, Scientific & Medical Network Review, Spring 2005 ‘An excellent, well-referenced discussion of an enormous range of information about breathing as a therapeutic intervention. Highly recommended.’

— Dan Benor, International Journal of Healing and Caring ‘An interesting overview of the use of breath traditionally in disciplines such as Yoga and Tai Chi. Minett argues that the gap between ancient knowledge, religion and science is gradually closing, with mystical explanations increasingly becoming scientifically viable. An interesting read.’

— Yoga and Health, March 2005 ‘If you are into breathing training, there’s a small number of good books and a plethora of bad and quirky books available on the topic. This book, Exhale, stands head and shoulders above the best. It is the single most thorough and comprehensive non-medical book on breathing that I have ever seen. I thought that I knew something about the history and background of breathing theory, practice, methods and training until I read this book. Now I do! No one has a right to claim expertise in breathing who has not read this book. It is required reading for everyone in our field(s).’

–Robert Fried, author of The Psychology and physiology of breathing in behavioral medicine ‘A most valuable resource … one of the most comprehensive overviews of the development of breathwork in the modern world. It will be very helpful as a text in the schools of breathwork as well as an introduction to this rapidly growing profession for the general public.’

— Jim Morningstar, coordinator of the International Breathwork Training Alliance ‘I have been a trainer of breathwork practitioners for more than 18 years, and I would use this book in my courses.’

— Michael Adamedes ‘Crystalises a lot of crucial information that I can use during my training courses in leadership and stress management for the corporate world.’ — Danielle de Wilde, business consultant ‘The factual approach taken, and the fact that it encompasses new research, means that this book will be referred to for many years to come.’

— Paul Reeve, professional breathworker ‘Exhale is a book I can recommend to my clients and students alike. No more mystery – here are the facts.’ — Bronwyn Barter, professional breathworker ‘This will be a valuable asset for the students in my three-year training programme, and will be of great value for breathworkers around the world, as well as for other psychotherapists.’

— Tilke Platteel-Deur, President, International Breathwork Foundation ‘The study of breathwork is moving faster than the material available. Gunnel Minnett has been instrumental in the rise of breathwork over the past two decades, and I would have no hesitation in Exhale heading my trainees’ reading list around the world.’

— David Parker, global breathwork trainer ‘An intelligent and very readable examination of one of the most powerful personal growth techniques available to us.’

— Catherine Dowling, professional breathworker ‘A five star book. The author’s extensive experiential wisdom, careful scholarship and clear, engaging writing style take us into new territory not travelled in other breathwork books.’

Floris Books, Scotland, 2004, http://www.florisbooks.co.uk

Also published in Swedish as Livets Källa, Energica, 2003

Now available as ebook from Amazon/Kindle https://www.amazon.co.uk/Exhale-Overview-Breathwork-Gunnel-Minett-ebook/dp/B01MFD749B/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496144239&sr=1-1&keywords=gunnel+minett