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Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life Hardcover – September 20, 2011
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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“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.
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I do notice that a lot of people have suggested this book mostly covers things that are fanciful, or not accessible. To some extent, maybe, but the crux of her recovery was mindfulness. Guided recordings are free, yoga mats and incense are cheap, and dharma talks and sangha visits are sliding scale and usually economical. For the more expensive stuff, maybe it's a question of priorities. Maybe wellness is better than having more things, a more deluxe box to drive them around in, and a more spacious box to ultimately store them in. I think many of us could rejigger finances to take a retreat or pay for yoga classes or consult with a massage therapist.
Warner suffered debilitating panic attacks for most of her life, which resulted in anything from inability to breathe to complete blackouts. After years of medicating the panic with a bit of alcohol and Klonopin, Warner decided to turn to mindfulness and meditation in a desperate effort to try and control her panic from the inside-out.
In her year-long "project" she consulted everyone from neuroscientists to massage therapists to buddhist monks to rabbis to seek different approaches to her mindfulness and meditation practice. For each "expert", Warner devotes a chapter- she includes a little bit of back story, information about the person she consulted, a description of her experiences and interactions with each individual, and then how she applied the advice to her life and practice.
I think this is a GREAT book for anyone interested in mindfulness or meditation, or even anyone looking for ideas on how to curb their own anxiety. I have to admit, towards the end of the book I was sort of ready for it to be over (Warner covers grief and loss in the last few chapters, and that stuff is always difficult for me to deal with) but it's one of my favorite reads in this genre. I highly recommend it.
I have suffered anxiety before, but I think very few out there have never experienced this often debilitating condition, both physically and mentally, at some point in their lives. I have persevered, with many years of struggles and I have tried several of the methods mentioned in this book. I found this literary work very accurate in mundane descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks and how these ailments affect ourselves and those around us.
I liked that the chapters were short, but informative and colorful at the same time. I appreciated how author made herself and her writing approachable by never becoming "preachy" or overly educational in her tone and instead used personal stories and enough interesting background information on each modality chosen to elicit the reader's interest and keep the reader's attention at the same time. With her deft hand, the writer was able to break down the book into sections on each different spirituality practice/naturopathic modality/alternative medicine solution that she has tried to alleviate her panic attacks. The book is really a great encyclopedia-like resource for all of us on how to better our lives and heal ourselves from anxiety and panic--however it does not read as such, and istead it is an easy, entetaining read that teaches a plethora of information simultaneously.
After finishing this book, I was sad to see it go. I feel that I learned so much from each chapter; some of it resonated with my own personal experiences, and some of it I learned about for the first time from this author. Without a doubt, I can say that I felt hopeful, rejuvenated and ready to try and experience all of the modalities that the autor did. This book really did enrich my own life and I feel that I am better prepared to care for my mental, physical, and emotional health after reading this book. I very much look forward to trying all of the new modalities that author has exposed in this book and adding a few of my own as well. Highly recommended.
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.
I strongly recommend it.