Customer Reviews: Science of Breath
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on February 25, 1999
This book was a lucid and eloquent examination of healthful breathing techniques, and the benefits experienced from their use.
Very few authors are capable of expressing complex concepts in simple language, but this author does it well.
I originally found this author quoted at length in The Roots Of Consciousness by Jeffrey Mishlove, and decided to follow up. I am glad I did.
The book begins with reviewing the importance of breath to living things, and then on to the physiology of breathing. Then the different styles of breathing are examined, along with the benefits and detriments of each. The book then progresses to look at a much more healthful method of breathing, along with exercises making use of this new method. The benefits from the physiological to the mental, emotional, and finally spiritual realms are discussed.
It is a practical handbook, with a minimum symbolic expression, and a maximum of well thought out, simply expressed important information on an often underappreciated topic.
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on August 19, 2007
If you read and do the exercises in this book, amazing changes will result in your mind and body. These exercises are deceptive they don't seem impressive, any person, any child could do them, so it goes without saying most people will lose interest because it doesn't seem arcane enough. Those who do the work will be amazed by what results.
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VINE VOICEon June 23, 2000
I picked up this book (1905 edition) as a martial artist hoping to help me with my KI breathing excerices. This book improved my breathing technique introduced me to yoga and eastern thought. "Science of Breath" provides a great balance between western theories and eastern ideas. This book would be a good aid to anyone in the martial arts or those who just study KI.
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on January 14, 2001
This book was recomended to me by another jazz vocalist whoindicated that it would give me more insight into how I breath whilesinging. I took her advice with a grain of salt, but after reading itall the way through, I came to the conclusion it should be mandatoryreading for all vocalists and all people for that matter...While mostvocalists are concerned with the two schools of western breathing,they are overlooking an entire approach that trancends both of thesemethods. This is not one of those new aged relics that glorifieseastern philosophy and religion. This is the real thing. You will notsee this book on Oprah, and it was not written by a Westerner. Checkit out..
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on March 24, 2012
Who knew there is a science to breathing!? After pain of stiffening my neck and shoulders, I found it all started with breathing wrong. Why? Because of years of stress, like we all have. I knew it, but I just couldn't make myself change no matter what I did.

This is a short, and to the point book, just packed with good stuff. And the price was free, how could you miss? This could change your life to the better. And if you are still "off" because you think it's going to convert you to Hindu (I know there are some out there with that idea!) It doesn't even try.
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on May 26, 2011
This little book, written more than 100 years ago, has become an anchor in my spiritual library. It's wisdom is ageless and ir's practices have enriched my life. I read it initially as I began work toward healing after decades of chronic debilitating pain and was surprised to find how it spiritually empowering as it charted a path toward health and healing.
A must read for healers and those seeking healing power within themselves!
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on November 13, 2009
This book gives you step by step instructions on the art of the breath. It is a great addition to anyone's library if you're interested in spirituality and meditation.
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on March 24, 2016
I got this book as a Kindle freebie. It’s made available for free because it’s in the public domain, not necessarily because it was so bad that the author couldn’t even get people to pay $0.99 for it. It was written by an American named William Walker Atkinson, who also went by the pseudonym of Yogi Ramacharaka. Atkinson was an American who lived in the latter 19th and early 20th century, and authored more than 100 books. If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of an author this prolific, it’s in part owing to his love of nom de plumes and the fact that he dodged the spotlight.

This book is short—less than 100 pages—and is organized into 16 chapters. The early chapters provide background for an audience that would’ve been fairly unaware of yogic practices, and the latter chapters are more along of a how-to book—giving instructions on various yogic breathing techniques. The first part of the book also tries to discuss the science of breath in terms of anatomy and physiology, but in layman’s terms. All in all, the book’s organization is logical.

This book’s readability is not bad, considering its era. However, it is 19th century writing, and so sentences can be long and tortuous by present-day standards. In the instructional parts, he uses bullet pointing to explain sequences.

The book runs into some problems, in my opinion, by trying to explain breath both in terms of modern science and yogic physiology. Imagine the story of the creation of the universe being told simultaneously in terms of the big bang and the Biblical account. These explanations are at odds, and any attempt to merge them into an integrated explanation will convolute the principles of one system or the other. Furthermore, explanations of respiratory and nervous system operations from Atkinson’s day are a bit out-of-date.

I would recommend this book for someone who has a scholarly interest in yoga and how it came to be introduced to the West. I can’t say that I would recommend it for its originally intended purposes of putting pranayama in the context of Western medical science or teaching the techniques of breathing. There are better books for the former (e.g. Coulter’s “Anatomy of Hatha Yoga”, chapter 2—though this is a much more technical account), and a teacher is needed for the latter. If one is an intermediate (or above) student of pranayama, then experimenting with Atkinson’s methods may prove interesting. However, from what I could read, it’s not clear where Atkinson learned pranayama. The fundamentals (e.g. abdominal, thoracic, and yogic breathing) seem sound, but there are other techniques that are unfamiliar to me and seem a bit unconventional. I can’t vouch for whether these are things I haven’t learned or whether Atkinson got them wrong. However, mostly there is just not enough information to communicate the fine points of the practices, and practicing pranayama is not without its risks.
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on March 30, 1998
As a discussion of various yogi pranayama
techniques, this little book is a treasure.
Ramacharaka had a talent for combining
simple explanations and common sense with complex
spiritual pardigms. You are never bored or
intimidated. A delightful read,
whatever your beliefs are.
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on January 11, 1999
This fantastic book, wrote by the wiseman Yogi Ramacharaka, give you a real oportunity to change your breathing and start a serious study in the Yogi philosophy. This book will bring to you a plenum development: physical, mental, psychic and spiritual.
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