December 9, 2013 on 10:58 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I see you have a lot of books about pranayama, but I am a beginner and would like the simplest book. Can you recommend one? Lourdes D., San Diego, CA
Dear Lourdes: The Little Book of Yoga Breathing Pranayama Made Easy by Scott Shaw is the book for you. You’re never too old to do pranayama. In fact, a practitioner of pranayama, 20 years into the practice, is teaching an 88-year-old woman to do pranayama via this book. This elder woman, I’ll call her Laura, is thrilled that she can accomplish these exercises; she had been very intimidated by more formidable books on pranayama.
The Little Book of Yoga Breathing
Scott Shaw asks in his book how can one rapidly and healthfully rejuvenate body and mind in times of need. The method of pranayama, around for over a thousand years, involves nothing more than a few conscious breaths. He further speaks about how even though one may feel time-crunched after working a whole day, it is possible to feel better in a very short time by taking a few deep and aware breaths.
Ancient techniques of pranayama, which means conscious control over breathing to bring life-giving oxygen into our body, have been remarkably distilled into this little book.
Beginning with the most basic level of pranayama which involves guiding a few breaths into the abdomen, we are then guided to more complex forms of the breath, although always presented in very short chapters with explicit instructions.
Within a very short time, I skipped ahead to the Retaining Breath, The Fire Breath, the Hissing Breath, etc. through Dynamic Tension Breaths, which cause additional blood flow to circulate through your body.
I like the fact that one can open this book at any page and begin a breath that appeals to you. You can stop at any breath or if you wish, proceed on your own timeline to a more advanced breath. But even the advanced breaths are presented very simply and are easy to master.
A great book!
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