Why We Recommend It
This is surely a foundational book for teachers and practitioners of all modern yoga. Farhi begins at the beginning, and keeps it simple, clear, interesting and practical. – Shelly
At one end of the spectrum is the unconscious, involuntary breath; at the other end is breathing that is controlled and regulated by the will, such as the classic breathing exercises done by yogis. Between these two extremes lies the “essential” breath, a conscious flow that arises out of the depth of our being and dissolves effortlessly back into our core. It arises from a background that is still and silent and dissolves back into this same stillness. To access this essential breath, we must first be able to focus on and perceive our own breathing process; that is, we must make the unconscious conscious.
Why We Recommend It
It’s telling that when I chose this book to recommend, I was considering the dozens that I had consulted on the topic of the breath. While Yoga for Pain Relief is invaluable on the topic of chronic pain, it is excellent, also, at laying the foundation of practical teachings on breathing, stretching, relaxation and mindfulness practices. Whether presenting at a research conference or in her books and articles, Kelly McGonigal consistently brings us findings from the most powerful research and takes great care to make it easily digestible and inspirational for practical application. As with all the best teachings, the ones here are presented clearly, without unnecessary complexity. (As an aside, I find this particularly impressive considering McGonigal’s experience and credentials. She is a PhD health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford who has been very active in the yoga therapy community. She translates neuroscience and psychology research into practical strategies, typically also involving the philosophy and tools of yoga.) In Yoga for Pain Relief, she emphasizes simple, effective practices offering the reader compassion and renewed inspiration along with practical tools. In this relatively short book, you’ll find a lot that you can use every time you teach. – Shelly
Yoga may be marketed in magazines as a way to give you a great physique, but the aim of traditional yoga is to restore health of body and peace of mind… You will soon discover that if you can breathe, you can do yoga. If you can pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, you can do yoga. If you are willing to explore what the body feels and how to take care of it, you can do yoga. Yoga is not about twisting your body into uncomfortable positions, and you can practice yoga even if you cannot get out of bed.
While we have highlighted a few outstanding books, there are literally hundreds of wonderful books and we encourage you to peruse the entire list. Any one of these may be just what you need!
Brown, Richard P MD & Patricia L Gerbarg MD — The Healing Power of the Breath link
Iyengar, B.K.S. — Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing link
Maehle, Gregor — Pranayama The Breath of Yoga link
McGonigal, Kelly — Yoga for Pain Relief: Simple Practices to Calm Your Mind and Heal Your Chronic Pain link
Mohan, A.G. — Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind chapter 6 link
Payne, Larry — Yoga RX link
Powers, Sarah — Insight Yoga chapters 15 & 18 link
Rama, Swami, Ballentine, Rudolph MD — Hymes, Alan MD, Science of Breath link
Rosen, Richard — The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama link
Rosen, Richard — Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals: An In-Depth Guide to Yogic Breathing link
Sabatini, Sandra — Breath: The Essence of Yoga link
Schiffman, Erich — Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness chapter 6 link
Stephens, Mark — Teaching Yoga, chapter 8 link
Vranich, Dr. Belisa — Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health link