Books & Resource Lists – Pranayama & The Breath

Recommended Books

The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi  link

Why We Recommend This Book

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

Book Quote

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.

Yoga for Pain Relief by Kelly McGonigal  link

Why We Recommend This Book

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

Book Quote

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.

Pranayama & The Breath


While we have highlighted a few outstanding books, there are many wonderful books and we encourage you to peruse the entire list. Any one of these may be just what you need!

  1. Brown, Richard P MD & Patricia L Gerbarg MD — The Healing Power of the Breath  link
  2. Farhi, Donna — The Breathing Book  link
  3. Iyengar, B.K.S. — Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing  link
  4. Maehle, Gregor — Pranayama The Breath of Yoga  link
  5. McGonigal, Kelly — Yoga for Pain Relief: Simple Practices to Calm Your Mind and Heal Your Chronic Pain  link
  6. Mohan, A.G. — Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind chapter 6  link
  7. Nestor, JamesBreath: The New Science of a Lost Art  link
  8. Payne, Larry — Yoga RX  link
  9. Powers, Sarah — Insight Yoga chapters 15 & 18  link
  10. Rama, Swami, Ballentine, Rudolph MD — Hymes, Alan MD, Science of Breath  link
  11. Rosen, Richard — The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama  link
  12. Rosen, Richard — Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals: An In-Depth Guide to Yogic Breathing  link
  13. Sabatini, Sandra — Breath: The Essence of Yoga  link
  14. Schiffman, Erich — Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness chapter 6  link
  15. Stephens, Mark — Teaching Yoga, chapter 8  link
  16. Vranich, Dr. Belisa — Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health  link

Teaching Tools

No Compensation for Recommendations

Our goal in providing book lists with quick links is to make it easy for you to get a sense for the variety of possible resources and to access them easily.

We receive no compensation of any sort for any recommendations or mentions. We are simply offering information as we feel called to do so.

Most of our book links use Amazon Associates, which pays a tiny commission on purchases made through those links (80 cents on a $20 book, for example). On average, we receive less than $15 per month from Amazon.


© 2022 Yoga Teacher Central • All rights reserved • Terms of service • Privacy policy