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Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery Paperback – March 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553374435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553374438
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"In your lifetime you will breathe in and out more than a hundred million times.... What if you made a tiny improvement in something you did that many times?" So queries Hendricks, a professor of counseling at the University of Colorado and author of Conscious Loving, at the start of this quietly assured guide. His guided breathing exercises, most done lying down and in combination with gentle movements, are designed to free the movement of the diaphragm, increase oxygenation and relax the body. Benefits can include stress reduction, pain management, improved health and spiritual growth. In his discussion of the anatomy of breathing, Hendricks errs in saying there are two lobes in each human lung (the right lung has three lobes), but this handsome handbook, appealingly illustrated and laced with aphorisms about breathing from sports heroes, poets and philosophers, offers much of value to those just fostering awarenes of breathing to such advanced practitioners as singers and athletes.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

We inhale 20,000 times a day. Deprived of oxygen for more than 10 seconds, the brain fogs and panics; after 4 to 5 minutes, it never again functions with its former efficiency. Hendricks first traces the physiological journey of a breath, then lists the benefits of conscious breathing. Reportedly, it reduces stress and tension; increases energy and endurance; facilitates emotional mastery, particularly over anxiety and depression; prevents and heals certain physical complaints, especially asthma, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular illness; contributes significantly to "graceful aging" ; helps in managing pain; enhances mental focus and physical performance, particularly when applied to sports; and enables psychospiritual transformation. "Ultimately," Hendricks asserts, "breathing can be a path to that most essential of human experiences: learning to love." Thereafter, his amply illustrated book provides basic and advanced breath-work lessons and a 10-minute daily breathing program. Calling himself his "own best client," Hendricks builds a convincing case for his addition to alternative-healing therapies. Whitney Scott

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This is a rich, very well written book.
T. Patrick Killough
I took this book out at the library to check it out but now I'm going to buy it definitely.
Muddy
Suggestions if you want to waste your money on this book.
"lavalliere"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1996
Format: Paperback
Ask people what they know about popular body-centered therapists Gay and
Kathlyn Hendricks and their answers usually contain the words "relationship" and
"breathing." Conscious Loving described the Hendricks's thoughts and experience
regarding relationship transformation. Conscious Breathing, by Gay Hendricks,
Ph.D. details the myriad, transformative uses of breathing he has explored.

Reading Conscious Breathing, I was reminded of the Buddha's admonition to accept
nothing based on faith or teaching, but only by your experience of its truth.
Similarly, Hendricks repeatedly describes how the various techniques in the book
have been refined and honed by his personal experience and by the experiences of
the thousands of clients and workshop participants over the last 26 years. For
example, teaching the age-old alternate nostril breathing, Hendricks shares the
particular variation of which his clients reported the most profound effects.

The wide variety of applications for breathing that he explores, makes Hendricks's
breathing inquiry, and this book, unique. Unlike methods, like Rebirthing or
Holotropic Breathwork, which focus on a particular technique and it's effects (e.g.
Holotropic's design to reproduce hallucinogenic drug experiences through
breathing), Conscious Breathing details breathing practices for everything from
releasing trauma, stress reduction, heightened athletic performance and curing
asthma to raising the body's "positive energy thermostat" and improved sexual
performance.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Patrick Killough on November 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
If only we breathed as we began life doing! As Gay Hendricks puts it:

"if you want to see healthy diaphragmatic breathing, watch the way a baby breathes. The belly rises and falls effortlessly with the breath. The chest moves somewhat, but the primary movement is below the diaphragm. Later, breathing becomes restricted as the baby is affected by the various shocks life has to offer. It is rare to see poor diaphragmatic breathing in kindergarten, but it is rare to find proper diaphragmatic breathing by high school." (p. 44)

CONSCIOUS BREATHING is notably well written, lacking the smart alecky colloquial banter that even weight loss giants like Mehmet Oz (YOU ON A DIET) feel compelled to sport.

The book abounds in drawings. Early on we are led inch by inch as a single breath works its way into our lungs, deposits its oxygen and removes carbon dioxide (pp. 4 - 7). Take air in through the nose, not the mouth. That warms your breath and purifies it. See the four lobes of the lungs, all resting on the diaphragm. Breathing better, says Gay Hendricks, will increase your oxygen by 5% per breath.

And better breathing means better health. One Minneapolis hospital studied 153 heart attack patients. Not one breathed "in the effective abdominal style." Rather they tensed stomach muscles and therefore not enough oxygen got to the bottom of their lungs. And 76% of those heart attack patients were mouth breathers, not nose breathers. (p. 17) Surprisingly small amounts of the body's toxins are "discharged through sweat, defecation and urination." A whopping 70% of toxins are removed by exhaling. (p.
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50 of 66 people found the following review helpful By "lavalliere" on November 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Suggestions if you want to waste your money on this book.
1. Skip pages 1 -60 useless, boring, information about the author.
2. Read only areas that are in bold. These are the exercises.
3. Skip all the filler. It is about the author lending no interest, content, inspiration, etc. to the book.
4. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. THIS APPEARS TO BE NOTHING BUT A PRODUCTION AUTHOR WHO CRANKS THESE THINGS OUT EVERY FEW MONTHS. Its as if he wrote the whole thing in a day. The exercises are just rehashed from other people's books and videos.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The exercises in this book have been beneficial during stressful times for years ... and included is a great 10-minute sequence of three exercises for daily preventive maintenance and self care. The commentary is helpful, not fluff at all, the instructions are easy to follow, and the illustrations of people doing the exercises are very clear. For a more advanced book on the breath, you might also want to take a look at The Tao of Natural Breathing by Dennis Lewis.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
I consider Gay Hendricks to be one of my primary teachers concerning the breath and one of the world's foremost experts on the subject A gifted author and therapist, he has facilitated over 20,000 private breathing sessions. This book is a must for anyone interested in the importance of the breath and breathing. I have integrated many of his insights in to my OPTIMAL BREATHING work.
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31 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Lee on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Filled with stories and not much substance. The author namedrops Andrew Weil's name ("Andy") early on and pronounces, not suprisingly, that Andy thinks breathing is real important. The book is filled with lots of half-empty pages, so trees are a big loser, too. Summary: lots of fluff but not much information!
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More About the Author

Gay Hendricks has served for more than thirty years as one of the major contributors to the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies. Throughout his career, Dr. Hendricks has coached more than eight hundred executives, including the top management at firms such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and KLM. Along with his wife, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks, he has coauthored many books including Conscious Loving, The Corporate Mystic, and his latest, the New York Times bestseller Five Wishes, which has been translated into seventeen languages. Dr. Hendricks received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford University. After a twenty-one-year career as a professor at the University of Colorado, he founded the Hendricks Institute, which offers seminars in North America, Asia, and Europe. He is also a founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle. In recent years his passion has been writing a new series of mystery novels featuring the Tibetan Buddhist private detective, Tenzing Norbu. Ten's first adventure was The First Rule Of Ten, followed by The Second Rule Of Ten and more to come.