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The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama Paperback – Illustrated, August 13, 2002
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"Richard Rosen has written a beautiful and substantial work on pranayama. It is at once modern and classical. Brilliantly engaging and accessible, it is a guide to practice that can become a companion for life. I recommend it unequivocally to students and teachers alike." —Patricia Walden, cofounder of the B. K. S. Iyengar Yoga Studio
"Pranayama is a vitally important part of traditional Hatha-Yoga. Richard Rosen has rendered a most valuable yeoman service by making this widely neglected practice accessible to Western practitioners. I highly recommend this work." —George Feuerstein, Ph.D., author of The Shambhala Guide to Yoga
"Richard Rosen acts as our pranayama tour guide by honestly sharing his own travels, both inward and outward. And he has done it the way all great teachers do: He points to the map and then makes sure we go on our own journey and don't just keep looking at his finger. The Yoga of Breath shows us how to find time, how to work with our mind, cultivate patience, experience more spaciousness, and be playful—all that by breathing in and breathing out. I'm inspired!" —Cyndi Lee, director of the Om Yoga Center
- Item Weight : 16 ounces
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1570628890
- ISBN-13 : 978-1570628894
- Product Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.84 x 8.94 inches
- Publisher : Shambhala; Illustrated Edition (August 13, 2002)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #59,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I cannot speak highly enough of Richard Rosen's lucid introduction to the profound effects of intentionally bringing one's full intention to the breath. Most helpfully, he is superb at identifying and describing the subtle (as well as sometimes dramatic) shifts in our conscious awareness when we mindfully begin to explore the vast potential of Pranayama (more or less literally "breath control" from the Sanskrit) to transform consciousness.
Richard Rosen has drawn not only from the voluminous Vedic texts of a wisdom tradition thousands of years old, but at least as usefully for contemporary students of yoga and mediation, he also excels in finding simple language to communicate his own experiences under the guidance of his teachers.
This is rich stuff, and while I understand Mr. Rosen has also written even more advanced books on the fascinating topic of yogic breathing, myself, I have been returning to The Yoga of Breath for over a year now and still feel there is more here for me to glean from this extraordinary volume.
My only caution might be that this book is not so appropriate for new students of yoga and/or mediation. It takes a couple of years' regular practice to develop the proprioceptive awareness of the intersection of breath and energy within the human body. For beginners, I'd strongly encourage you to first find a yoga or a mediation teacher with whom you sense a comfortable rapport and gain some experience of the possibilities yourself before you begin to try and make some sense of these phenomena with the help of Mr. Rosen's book.
It's definitely experiential stuff, not mere academic theory to be comprehended intellectually, and some of the Pranayama practices can be strong medicine indeed for those not already well-grounded in a stable practice. Without that solid foundation, some of the techniques certainly have the potential to knock loose long-buried emotional traumas and the like, and most people, I think, are better served traversing that sometimes rocky territory with a teacher intimately familiar with a terrain that may at first appear alien or unsettling to the new traveler. There's no rush, you know, to get "there," and it's my opinion that personal transformation only becomes permanent and integrated in our individual lives when approached slowly, gently, and ever so thoroughly.
If you are the sort of person who finds satisfaction in expensive seminars promising immediate improvement in all aspects of your life, well, by all means go for it, but one doubts you would find this understated--modest, even--book so satisfying.
If, however, you are well-seasoned student gifted with a modicum of patience, or a yoga teacher interested in looking more deeply to enrich your perspective, I sincerely hope you find Mr. Rosen's observations at least as useful as they have proven for myself.
I began pranayama with an eclectic practice - pasted together from Integral Yoga, Sivanadana, various media (Shiva Rea, etc.), Kripalu.
I find the most fulfillment with the Iyengar method. Pranayama is slow and rewarding - gives me intimacy with myself. Rosen's book is intelligent and well constructed - a door opening to that path.
Top reviews from other countries
And when after 2 years work we finally arrive at actual Pranayama, of the two techiniques decribed, one is not a traditional techinique (and was really invented by Mr Iyengar as a learning technique.
In my opinion, if you want to calm you mind and learn to breath softly and mindfully, buy a book on Mindfulness or Breath Meditation; meanwhile if you want to learn Pranayama techniques stick with Mr Iyengar.
Richard Rosen has written a sensible and practical book about a form of yoga that has often been misinterpreted and trivialised, particularly by the new-age press. If you're looking for something that will tell you simply to "breath-in-breath-out and think beautiful thoughts", this isn't for you.
An Iyengar trained teacher with over twenty years experience, Rosen explains pranayama in a way that western students can respond to. He describes (with plenty of excellent illustrations) the preliminaries, the practice, what you can expect and how it helps you, in a style that is chatty without ever being superficial or condescending. He estimates that if you work through this book conscientiously it will take you at least eighteen months to complete the programme.
If you're serious about exploring this fascinating form of yoga, and have no teacher near to you (and even if you have, it's still worth reading) this is the one to buy.
Richard Rosen shines a much needed light on this topic and presents it in a very enthusiastic and accessible way.