The Yoga of Breath Book Summary - The Yoga of Breath Book explained in key points
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The Yoga of Breath summary

Richard Rosen

A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama

4.4 (148 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

The Yoga of Breath by Richard Rosen is a guide to the practice of pranayama, the control of breath in yoga. It provides historical context and practical instructions to deepen breathing for better physical, mental and spiritual health.

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    The Yoga of Breath
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    There is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. 

    What advice would you give to someone who needs to calm down? You might tell him to take a deep breath. Yoga practitioners have known about the relationship between breathing and consciousness for thousands of years. In fact, working with your breath is an essential part of yoga tradition. This practice is known as pranayama, derived from the sanskrit words Prana, meaning “breath,” and Ayama, meaning “control.”

    Pranayama is thought to have originated with Brahman priests – ancient holy men who worshipped by chanting hymns known as the Vedas. These priests realized that if they controlled their breathing during their chanting, they could recite the Vedas with more force. Even more crucially, breathing differently let them alter their states of mind. 

    But the benefits of practicing pranayama go far beyond ancient worship. We live in a hectic world where many of us spend hours hunched over a desk. Pranayama can provide a blissful antidote to stress and ill health. 

    The key message here is: There is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. 

    Incorrect breathing often stems from poor posture, weak respiratory muscles, or simply chronic stress. 

    So what does bad breathing look like?

    Inefficient breathers take quick, shallow breaths, and they primarily use their mouths to breathe. We’ve all had moments of panic and hyperventilation, but breathing inefficiently on a regular basis can cause big problems for your body. Fast, shallow breaths lower the amount of carbon dioxide in your circulatory system. This slows down the circulation of oxygen in your brain and body. The result? Poor oxygenation causes a racing or irregular heartbeat and chronic anxiety. It can even make you confused and forgetful.

    On the other hand, breathing in the right way leaves you feeling instantly revitalized. 

    Efficient breathers take slow, streamlined breaths. Unlike bad breathers, who breathe from their upper chest, efficient breathers breathe from their entire diaphragm and torso. They also breathe through the nose, rather than the mouth. Nose breathing slows your breath down, and it allows your lungs to extract plenty of oxygen with each inhalation. This keeps your body at a healthy oxygen-to-carbon-dioxide ratio, and it leaves you with a clear head and a calmer state of mind. 

    In the next blink, you’ll prepare to start your pranayama journey to healthier breathing. 

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    What is The Yoga of Breath about?

    The Yoga of Breath (2002) outlines the health benefits of breathing efficiently, and explores why many of us are not breathing in the best way. These blinks also describe simple yoga exercises that will help you control your breath and usher in a calmer state of mind. 

    The Yoga of Breath Review

    The Yoga of Breath (2002) is a valuable resource for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of breathwork in the practice of yoga. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its detailed explanations and step-by-step instructions, it enables readers to explore the transformative power of breath in their yoga practice.
    • Through insightful teachings and ancient wisdom, the book delves into the connection between breath, body, and mind, offering a holistic approach to yoga.
    • The book's wide range of exercises and practices allows readers to uncover the various techniques of breathwork, enhancing their yoga journey and overall well-being.

    Best quote from The Yoga of Breath

    Let a man perform ujjayi to destroy decay and death. 

    —Richard Rosen
    example alt text

    Who should read The Yoga of Breath?

    • Anxiety sufferers looking for self-help
    • Yoga fans seeking a fresh perspective
    • Busy professionals hoping to de-stress

    About the Author

    Richard Rosen is an American author and instructor in modern yoga. Rosen cofounded the Nest Yoga Studio in Oakland and is also the president of the Yoga Dana Foundation.

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    The Yoga of Breath FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Yoga of Breath?

    The main message of The Yoga of Breath is that conscious breathing can enhance physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

    How long does it take to read The Yoga of Breath?

    The reading time for The Yoga of Breath varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Yoga of Breath a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Yoga of Breath is worth reading as it offers valuable insights into the practice of breathwork and its benefits.

    Who is the author of The Yoga of Breath?

    The author of The Yoga of Breath is Richard Rosen.

    What to read after The Yoga of Breath?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Yoga of Breath, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
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    • The Bhagavad Gita by Vyasa
    • Do Breathe by Michael Townsend Williams
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