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Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life Hardcover – September 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1ST edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439181071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439181072
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 4.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“I have always considered Priscilla a dear friend. But after reading her book, I realize she is also a great teacher. When I finished reading Priscilla’s book, a smile washed over my face and I let out a sigh. I promise you will do the same.”—Meredith Vieira

“Learning to Breathe is an exquisite, funny, life-changing approach to anxiety and panic. I highly recommend this book.”—Christiane Northrup, M.D., ob/gyn physician and author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom


“From one who has suffered from anxiety (and who hasn’t?), catching one’s breath is imperative. Priscilla Warner opens every holistic door on her journey from panic to peace. Readers will cheer Warner as she finds some semblance of serenity Her recipe for success makes this book prescriptive as well as entertaining—her dharma becoming her karma.”—Joan Anderson, author of A Year by the Sea

“Part mystery story, part comedic hero’s journey, part state-of-the-art psychology, and part public health message, this is a complex, brainy book that goes down in one sitting like some kind of a tasty chick-lit snack. Learning a lot is rarely this enjoyable and teachers rarely this appealing.”—Belleruth Naparstek, author of Invisible Heroes and creator of the Health Journeys guided imagery series

“On a quest to rid herself of almost lifelong panic attacks, self-described ‘neurotic’ Priscilla Warner begins her journey toward liberation. Her humorous, honest, and detailed account provides readers with a rich tapestry of both her inner experience and snapshots of the many approaches and teachers she encounters along the way: This vividly described personal odyssey of her ‘panic-to-peace project’ resonates profoundly with the universal desire for serenity and understanding.”—Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., originator of EMDR therapy and author of Getting Past Your Past: Take control of Your Life with Self Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy


“Wise, searching, fearless, and big-hearted, Priscilla Warner’s search for inner peace will resonate with anyone who has ever been anxious or at sea—in other words, all of us. She is a comforting and stabilizing guide through her own life—and ours. This book is a gift.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion: A Memoir

“The words leap off the page. Priscilla Warner’s courageous story from panic to peace brims with insights that light the path to simply living a better life.—Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., author of The Now Effect

About the Author

Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent many years in Boston and New York as an advertising art director, shooting ads for everything from English muffins to diamond earrings. Priscilla co-authored The New York Times bestselling memoir The Faith Club, then toured the country for three years, hyperventilating her way through an extended book tour. Finally, in the skies over Oklahoma, she vowed to find her inner monk, and began meditating her way from panic to peace.

More About the Author

Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent many years in Boston and New York as an advertising art director, shooting ads for everything from English muffins to diamond earrings. Priscilla co-authored The New York Times bestselling memoir The Faith Club, then toured the country for three years, hyperventilating her way through an extended book tour. Finally, in the skies over Oklahoma, she vowed to find her inner monk, and began meditating her way from panic to peace.

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Customer Reviews

This book came exactly the right time in my life when I needed to find spirituality.
C. L. Beers
Priscilla Warner writes about her journey in a way that's accessible to anyone who wants to find more peace in their lives.
Voracious Reader
I came to this book because in a People's magazine article it mentioned that the author had given it to Meredith Viera.
Virginia Henkaline

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Voracious Reader on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Imagine: The Glass Castle meets Eat, Pray, Love. Priscilla Warner writes about her journey in a way that's accessible to anyone who wants to find more peace in their lives.

Her story is heartbreaking in places, comical in others. She lived with panic attacks her entire life until one day (after a particularly bad, eye-opening episode) she decides she has to face her anxiety head-on. I love her curiosity - she's willing to try anything! Some of the techniques she tries I'm familiar with (meditation, yoga); others I learned about for the first time (Trager therapy, EMDR therapy).

The way she shares her experience is great - she's funny and self-deprecating. It's rare to find that combination in "self-help" memoirs - so many of them take themselves so seriously, or make you feel like you can never achieve what they have. Priscilla does neither. She keeps it all in perspective.

I visited her website and found her Breathtaking Moment videos - they're so relaxing. Just a minute or so each, a nice to way to bring quiet to my day.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Marsha Lucas on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Priscilla Warner has written a book that is at once an authentic, warm, intelligent and often funny memoir of her work on managing her lifelong struggle with panic attacks; a compendium of compellingly-described healing modalities for anxiety disorders; and an insightful unfolding of how early trauma and/or troubling family dynamics can shape how we relate to the world.
I'll be be recommending this book to my patients as well as my friends - not just those who struggle with anxiety, but for anyone who wants some compassionate, solid company on their own journey toward healing.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Harris on December 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book as a long-term sufferer of anxiety, curious to find out to what extent meditation can help someone recover from panic attacks and hoping to pick up some useful tips along the way. The book was helpful to an extent, but I also found it quite limiting in that a lot of the paths Priscilla takes are completely out of bounds for people who have limited funds, particularly those who might be unable to work as a result of their illness. Priscilla seems to have an unlimited budget for therapy, going on retreats and visiting spiritual masters across America which makes for an interesting read, but is difficult for the average layperson to replicate. I kind of resented her for this, the fact that she has had therapy for over half her life and had the funds to try out every technique available to her. In addition, I sometimes found her tone a little smug and found that she went on about her 'wonderful' marriage and 'beautiful' children far more than was necessary, which didn't really add anything to the book and which I felt she could have left behind. The book confirmed what many people already know: that meditation can literally change your brain and reading about this was interesting, but I found there was too much 'fluff' surrounding this to ever want to read the book again. An interesting book to borrow but my advice would be to skip this and go straight ahead and buy a book or CD about how to meditate, it'll do your brain cells the world of good.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Her sons were grown and doing well, her marriage was solid, and she had recently completed a lengthy book tour for the bestseller THE FAITH CLUB, which she had co-authored. In many ways, life was very good for Priscilla Warner. But she was relentlessly dogged by anxiety and panic attacks that gave her no peace. The often-debilitating condition had been an unwanted companion for most of her life, and she was determined to find peace and serenity --- her "inner monk" --- no matter how difficult the task.

Her first epiphany came in a most unexpected way, as epiphanies often do. A car rental agent who had noticed the unusual jewelry Warner was wearing suggested she might find a certain shop in Haight-Ashbury worth a visit. As she browsed the shop, she became intrigued by Tibetan singing bowls. And the clerk introduced her to a CD by Gyuto Monks, whose unusual chanting appealed to Warner. Determined to learn how to make her singing bowl sing beautifully and armed with the CD of chants, Warner's quest for peace had begun in earnest.

Warner gave herself a present for her 56th birthday: a beginning meditation course taught by a Tibetan monk, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. Through meditation, the monk successfully overcame his panic disorder. Warner felt sure he could help her. When she met him, he answered all of her questions to her satisfaction. Yongey's humor, his positive attitude and frank way of explaining things really did start Warner on the path toward her "inner monk."

Through effort and practice, she became adept at meditation but realized that meditation was only part of her solution.
Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Therese Borchard on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating tale of courage, perseverance, and resolve. In lucid and entertaining prose--with several laugh-out-loud moments--Warner is a travel guide for the anxious and the wounded from a life of fear and burden to a perspective of freedom and wonder. Her redemptive ending fosters hope for anyone who is determined to find peace.
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