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The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work

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A new approach to improving quality of life through your most accessible resource: your breath. Internationally renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi presents a refreshingly simple and practical guide to reestablishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health. Complete with more that seventy-five photos and illustrations, Th A new approach to improving quality of life through your most accessible resource: your breath. Internationally renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi presents a refreshingly simple and practical guide to reestablishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health. Complete with more that seventy-five photos and illustrations, The Breaking Book offers a thorough and inspiring program that you can tailor to your specific needs. Whether you need an energy boost or are seeking a safe, hassle-free way to cope with everyday stress, you will find answers here. These safe and easy-to-learn techniques can also be used to treat asthma, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions. "Donna Farhi has been a student, researcher, and teacher of the breath for many years, and now we get to reap the results of her studies in this exquisite manual." -- Yoga Journal


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A new approach to improving quality of life through your most accessible resource: your breath. Internationally renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi presents a refreshingly simple and practical guide to reestablishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health. Complete with more that seventy-five photos and illustrations, Th A new approach to improving quality of life through your most accessible resource: your breath. Internationally renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi presents a refreshingly simple and practical guide to reestablishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health. Complete with more that seventy-five photos and illustrations, The Breaking Book offers a thorough and inspiring program that you can tailor to your specific needs. Whether you need an energy boost or are seeking a safe, hassle-free way to cope with everyday stress, you will find answers here. These safe and easy-to-learn techniques can also be used to treat asthma, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions. "Donna Farhi has been a student, researcher, and teacher of the breath for many years, and now we get to reap the results of her studies in this exquisite manual." -- Yoga Journal

30 review for The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Magennis

    This book is really exceptional. Gentle, subtle, thorough and wonderfully useful. The author writes with such quiet authority it feels like a beginning 'inquiry' to even read her words. There are no quick fixes or easy answers in here, though, so don't buy it if you're not prepared to meet the author halfway and actually try doing some of the yoga-like work within. Plenty of informative physiological information on breathing. Plenty more grounded but philosophical ideas on breathing, too. There' This book is really exceptional. Gentle, subtle, thorough and wonderfully useful. The author writes with such quiet authority it feels like a beginning 'inquiry' to even read her words. There are no quick fixes or easy answers in here, though, so don't buy it if you're not prepared to meet the author halfway and actually try doing some of the yoga-like work within. Plenty of informative physiological information on breathing. Plenty more grounded but philosophical ideas on breathing, too. There's a section at the back giving recommended programmes for specific illnesses or conditions. I'd recommend it hugely for anyone troubled by anxiety, fatigue, depression - or less than perfect health. I've had my copy for about ten years and it's one of those books I know I'll always keep. (Potentially) life-changing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    The Breathing Book is one of the books I needed to read to complete my RYT-200 training (to be a registered yoga teacher). This book is full of exercises one can use to improve their lives through breath work. Wither you want to quit smoking, have an eating disorder, or insomnia, ext. When I was a kid I remember looking in the mirror and practicing breathing through my chest. I thought it would tighten my abs and essentially make me skinnier by "working the muscles" all day. So, so wrong. Breathin The Breathing Book is one of the books I needed to read to complete my RYT-200 training (to be a registered yoga teacher). This book is full of exercises one can use to improve their lives through breath work. Wither you want to quit smoking, have an eating disorder, or insomnia, ext. When I was a kid I remember looking in the mirror and practicing breathing through my chest. I thought it would tighten my abs and essentially make me skinnier by "working the muscles" all day. So, so wrong. Breathing through the chest can take off 10-20 years of your life. Test yourself by sitting up straight and place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest and breath normally. If the hand on your stomach rises and falls you are breathing with your primary muscles and you're good. If it's the opposite hand this is a sign of stress breathing. Chest breathing means you are using secondary muscles which is actually tightening around your heart. By relearning to breathe through the stomach it will massage the heart and decrease stress levels. I hope this information was informative and helps at least one person breathe a bit easier 💓 Namaste🕉️

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robin Mandell

    Clearly written and well researched. I'm looking forward to using what I learned both in my own practice and in my work as a yoga teacher. I'm pretty sure I'll be referring to this book a lot in the coming months and years. Looking forward to reading other books by this author. Clearly written and well researched. I'm looking forward to using what I learned both in my own practice and in my work as a yoga teacher. I'm pretty sure I'll be referring to this book a lot in the coming months and years. Looking forward to reading other books by this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Danah Kamal

    To me, this book is a real treasure! Love it! I’ll definitely reread it again & again & again..

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jayney

    I found it very difficult to find a book about yogic breathing despite it being integral to yoga practise. So, when I bought this book I was happy that I found what I had been looking for. Farhi's practises and explanations are easy to understand. There are very well drawn digrams which help you to comprehend the anatomy of more subtle breathing patterns (these are not always easy to feel). This book is great for anyone who is has an asana practice. From a personal perspective I would say that t I found it very difficult to find a book about yogic breathing despite it being integral to yoga practise. So, when I bought this book I was happy that I found what I had been looking for. Farhi's practises and explanations are easy to understand. There are very well drawn digrams which help you to comprehend the anatomy of more subtle breathing patterns (these are not always easy to feel). This book is great for anyone who is has an asana practice. From a personal perspective I would say that this book is essential to any yoga teacher. In my experience of being a practitioner very few teachers go into any detail about breathing techniques. Farhi's techniques would be easy to integrate into a class and help students with self inquiry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    D

    Clear guide with delightful quotes. Only recently have we reduced breathing to a mere respiratory exchange of CO2 and O2. Greek psyche pneuma means breath/soul/air/spirit. Latin anima spiritus means breath/soul. Japanese ki means air/spirit. Sanskrit prana connotes a resonant life force that is at no time more apparent to us than when that force is extinguished at the moment of death. Chinese hsi is made of 3 characters that mean 'of the conscious self or heart.' The breath is seen as a force tha Clear guide with delightful quotes. Only recently have we reduced breathing to a mere respiratory exchange of CO2 and O2. Greek psyche pneuma means breath/soul/air/spirit. Latin anima spiritus means breath/soul. Japanese ki means air/spirit. Sanskrit prana connotes a resonant life force that is at no time more apparent to us than when that force is extinguished at the moment of death. Chinese hsi is made of 3 characters that mean 'of the conscious self or heart.' The breath is seen as a force that runs through the mind, body and spirit like a river running through a dry valley giving sustenance to everything in its course. The rock painters of the ancient caves of southern France were thought to have mixed pigments in their mouth with saliva and using rapid-fire exhalations through pursed lips, they propelled the paint onto the rocks with their breath. The artist literally breathed life into the image, projecting himself into the animal or creature and thus, becoming lizard, bird, or mammal. Walk slowly! Talk little! Love breath! Be thrifty with affairs! Think clearly! The body will consequently be light and the hundreds of arteries will flow and irrigate. The four limbs communicate pleasantly. The Yellow Court Canon, therefore states, "The thousand calamities disappear and the hundred illnesses are healed. One does not fear being injured by the cruel tiger or the wolf. In addition, one gets rid of old age and extends life forever. - Master Great Nothing of Sung-Shan, Taoist Canon on Breathing The so-called Yi (the mind) is the horse of the breath. When moving or stopping, they follow each other -T'ai Hsi Ching Chu, The Embryonic Breath Canon Melancholoke folks are commonly given to sigh, because the minde being possessed with great varietie and store of foolish apparitions doth not remember or suffer the partie to be at leisure to breathe according to the necessitie of nature - Du Laurens, 1559 Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment - Thich Nhat Hanh Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a first or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings. - Rumi The softest of stuff in the world Penetrates quickly the hardest, Insubstantial, it enters Where there is no room. - Lao Tsu Following the Lure of the Breath Time is Breath G I Gurdjieff He lives most life whoever breathes most air - Elizabeth Barrett Browning The seeds stir and tremble as if the sky moves back and forth between us, like this, like this - Sharon Gladden Knowing oneself and knowing another are two sides of the same coin. It is through the intense kiln of relationship that we come to be transformed. Many of our most deeply held emotions only arise and resolve in the close quarters of a relationship. And many of our most intensely joyful experiences only come through the alchemy of relationship. Relationships can become infinitely complex and potentially confusing. For this reason, it is crucial to have a self-reflective practice to witness one's own habit patterns, feelings, and sensations. This may be a daily walk, meditation, or journal writing, or moment-to-moment conscious awareness of breath. Each breath enters us, becomes a part of us, then is released into the world. For that moment, we have a chance to know both who we are as an individual and who we are as the integral part of a greater shared breath. The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization. - Luther Standing Bear Most successful people are unhappy. That's why they are successes - they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice... The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don't give a damn. - Agatha Christie Extending Time Generosity - In line, let someone else go before you. "Please go ahead of me, I have plenty of time." Let the cashier know: Don't rush on my account. I'm not in a hurry. Take your time." Wait until the customer before you has put away their things before you step up to the counter. - Stop when you see a pedestrian about to cross the road. Wait until they are all the across instead of nudging them on. When you cross the street, walk at a pace that feels good rather than letting drivers intimidate you into trotting out of their way. Remember it's their hurry, not yours! - For tasks that you usually speed up, do without acceleration. - Observe when you hold your breath. Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. When you really look for me, you will see me instantly - you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath -Kabir, Versions by Robert Bly

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I practice yoga and guide yoga; from both perspectives this book is a must read. Written in 1996, Donna Farhi's guide is every bit as helpful and relevant now as it was then. I have been reading this book over several weeks (it was due yesterday!) and have taken copious notes on approaches that will surface in my personal practice and the practices I guide. If this book or the author are interesting to you, you might find her November 2017 talk, Tradition, Innovation & Evolution - What makes yoga I practice yoga and guide yoga; from both perspectives this book is a must read. Written in 1996, Donna Farhi's guide is every bit as helpful and relevant now as it was then. I have been reading this book over several weeks (it was due yesterday!) and have taken copious notes on approaches that will surface in my personal practice and the practices I guide. If this book or the author are interesting to you, you might find her November 2017 talk, Tradition, Innovation & Evolution - What makes yoga…Yoga, an informative and entertaining way to spend 58 minutes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    There are shreds of factual, helpful information in this book, but it is absolutely BURIED beneath the author's holier-than-thou attitude, ridiculous stereotypes (all New Yorkers have restricted chest breathing, don't ya know?), and absolutely awful pseudo New Age psycho babble. Essentially, the author pares down Eastern texts and teachings on pranayama for a Western audience, with some anatomy info thrown in, but her version of like a guided meditation, as she asks you to relax and ground is un There are shreds of factual, helpful information in this book, but it is absolutely BURIED beneath the author's holier-than-thou attitude, ridiculous stereotypes (all New Yorkers have restricted chest breathing, don't ya know?), and absolutely awful pseudo New Age psycho babble. Essentially, the author pares down Eastern texts and teachings on pranayama for a Western audience, with some anatomy info thrown in, but her version of like a guided meditation, as she asks you to relax and ground is unbearable, very rote and mechanical and just ugh I did not like this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cherie Kephart

    Donna Farhi's The Breathing Book delves deep into our most powerful tool for optimal health and vitality--our breath. Through a myriad of practical inquires and in-depth explanations, Farhi takes us on a detailed journey exploring the ins and outs of our respiratory system, what our breathing patterns mean, and how to heal ourselves by examining and practicing engaging breath exercises. Mostly, she emphasizes mindfulness and paying attention to the way in which we can take steps to changing our Donna Farhi's The Breathing Book delves deep into our most powerful tool for optimal health and vitality--our breath. Through a myriad of practical inquires and in-depth explanations, Farhi takes us on a detailed journey exploring the ins and outs of our respiratory system, what our breathing patterns mean, and how to heal ourselves by examining and practicing engaging breath exercises. Mostly, she emphasizes mindfulness and paying attention to the way in which we can take steps to changing our breathing behavior to create a more balanced and relaxed way of life.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is an exploration of breathing that includes mindful practices. Although yogic work is included, this is not a deep look at pranayama. It is a very good support both for those looking to improve respiration in daily life, and for those looking for a mundane inquiry to apply to pranayama. I find it full of useful meditations for students looking for general meditations that follow their breath, as well as to prepare students for pranayama.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leon Hermanson

    Awesome book! You think that breathing is breathing, what can be said about it? Lots actually. Donna Farhi takes you through it all with great exploratory exercises so you can experience what she is talking about. It's probably possible for you to breathe in an even more beneficial way, so read the book (and do the exercises!). Awesome book! You think that breathing is breathing, what can be said about it? Lots actually. Donna Farhi takes you through it all with great exploratory exercises so you can experience what she is talking about. It's probably possible for you to breathe in an even more beneficial way, so read the book (and do the exercises!).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joanne McKinnon

    Self-reflective practice For me, meditation started as a yearly self-reflective period. Now I practice yoga and meditation daily. Still, something was missing. I tended to hyperventilate and this caused headaches and pain in shoulders and neck. It’s not until I was a few chapters in that I realized I needed breath works. Such a relief.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hart

    A very comprehensive read and surprised me with how much there is to know about the 'breath'. I've certainly learned much from this and incorporating the techniques learned to support my health and wellbeing. A little challenging perhaps for those with no anatomical awareness but certainly educational. A very comprehensive read and surprised me with how much there is to know about the 'breath'. I've certainly learned much from this and incorporating the techniques learned to support my health and wellbeing. A little challenging perhaps for those with no anatomical awareness but certainly educational.

  14. 4 out of 5

    EL

    Good quality, practical learning on the far-reaching impact of breathing patterns As highly instructional as it is informative. Easy to read and straight to the point. Make sure to participate in the exercises described, as they are a big part of the learning.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    One of my favorite books from yoga teacher training.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Luvena

    I loved it!! The book was a brilliantly refreshing blend of practices from various lines of thought and a lovely complement to yoga. I enjoyed it tremendously.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Essential pranayama book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I found that the relaxed abdominal breathing hurt my back. Perhaps I wasn’t doing these exercises correctly?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Agnew

    Donna Farhi writes in a very engaging way and provides plenty of practical exercises to help the reader explore the breath

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Wonderful reference and will be using breathing exercises daily

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark Oronoz Knight

    One of the best books on breathwork in yoga and everyday life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    i really like donna farhi. i had the opportunity to take a workshop with her and it really changed the way i practice yoga and move in general. one day i hope to study with her in new zealand. annie, you should read this.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leticia

    And, you thought you knew how to breathe. This book offers additional insights and exercises to help you achieve proper yogic breathing techniques, which inevitably lead to better breathing during your daily life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to use their breath in ways to reduce stress and feel better. This book is extremely accessible for all readers and will make you completely fascinated by your own breath through all the guided inquiries.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Really exceptional and useful book so far - in yoga and especially in daily life. Have reduced amount of asthma med since I started reading the book, doing the exercises and incorporating these into life in general.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Weber

    I only normally recommend Viniyoga books, but his one has some wonderful breath practices that I liberally steal for my teacher training program. A great text for people looking to explore the power of the breath!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I think I very much need this book! My breathing techniques need serious work!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Great exercises to improve both your breathing and your awareness of your breathing. Even if you regularly practice yoga or meditation, these exercises can help give you new insight into the breath.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    I read this book for my yoga teachering training course and enjoyed the author's ideas, suggestions, and exercises to help broaden my knowledge and use of the breath in yoga and in life. I read this book for my yoga teachering training course and enjoyed the author's ideas, suggestions, and exercises to help broaden my knowledge and use of the breath in yoga and in life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Terri Kirkman

    great book about using the breath to heal

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