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The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A new approach to improving quality of life through your most accessible resource: your breath.

Internationally renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi presents a refreshingly simple and practical guide to reestablishing proper breathing techniques that will dramatically improve your physical and mental health. Complete with more that seventy-five photos and illustrations, Th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 15th 1996 by Holt Paperbacks
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Nikki Magennis
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is really exceptional. Gentle, subtle, thorough and wonderfully useful. The author writes with such quiet authority it feels like a beginning 'inquiry' to even read her words. There are no quick fixes or easy answers in here, though, so don't buy it if you're not prepared to meet the author halfway and actually try doing some of the yoga-like work within.
Plenty of informative physiological information on breathing. Plenty more grounded but philosophical ideas on breathing, too. There'
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The Breathing Book is one of the books I needed to read to complete my RYT-200 training (to be a registered yoga teacher). This book is full of exercises one can use to improve their lives through breath work. Wither you want to quit smoking, have an eating disorder, or insomnia, ext.
When I was a kid I remember looking in the mirror and practicing breathing through my chest. I thought it would tighten my abs and essentially make me skinnier by "working the muscles" all day.

So, so wrong.

Robin Mandell
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly written and well researched. I'm looking forward to using what I learned both in my own practice and in my work as a yoga teacher. I'm pretty sure I'll be referring to this book a lot in the coming months and years. Looking forward to reading other books by this author. ...more
Danah Kamal
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wellness
To me, this book is a real treasure! Love it! I’ll definitely reread it again & again & again..
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga, 2016
I found it very difficult to find a book about yogic breathing despite it being integral to yoga practise. So, when I bought this book I was happy that I found what I had been looking for. Farhi's practises and explanations are easy to understand. There are very well drawn digrams which help you to comprehend the anatomy of more subtle breathing patterns (these are not always easy to feel). This book is great for anyone who is has an asana practice.

From a personal perspective I would say that t
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Clear guide with delightful quotes.

Only recently have we reduced breathing to a mere respiratory exchange of CO2 and O2. Greek psyche pneuma means breath/soul/air/spirit. Latin anima spiritus means breath/soul. Japanese ki means air/spirit. Sanskrit prana connotes a resonant life force that is at no time more apparent to us than when that force is extinguished at the moment of death. Chinese hsi is made of 3 characters that mean 'of the conscious self or heart.' The breath is seen as a force tha
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I practice yoga and guide yoga; from both perspectives this book is a must read. Written in 1996, Donna Farhi's guide is every bit as helpful and relevant now as it was then. I have been reading this book over several weeks (it was due yesterday!) and have taken copious notes on approaches that will surface in my personal practice and the practices I guide.

If this book or the author are interesting to you, you might find her November 2017 talk, Tradition, Innovation & Evolution - What makes yoga
Apr 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
There are shreds of factual, helpful information in this book, but it is absolutely BURIED beneath the author's holier-than-thou attitude, ridiculous stereotypes (all New Yorkers have restricted chest breathing, don't ya know?), and absolutely awful pseudo New Age psycho babble. Essentially, the author pares down Eastern texts and teachings on pranayama for a Western audience, with some anatomy info thrown in, but her version of like a guided meditation, as she asks you to relax and ground is un ...more
Cherie Kephart
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Donna Farhi's The Breathing Book delves deep into our most powerful tool for optimal health and vitality--our breath. Through a myriad of practical inquires and in-depth explanations, Farhi takes us on a detailed journey exploring the ins and outs of our respiratory system, what our breathing patterns mean, and how to heal ourselves by examining and practicing engaging breath exercises. Mostly, she emphasizes mindfulness and paying attention to the way in which we can take steps to changing our ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an exploration of breathing that includes mindful practices. Although yogic work is included, this is not a deep look at pranayama. It is a very good support both for those looking to improve respiration in daily life, and for those looking for a mundane inquiry to apply to pranayama. I find it full of useful meditations for students looking for general meditations that follow their breath, as well as to prepare students for pranayama.
Leon Hermanson
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life
Awesome book! You think that breathing is breathing, what can be said about it? Lots actually. Donna Farhi takes you through it all with great exploratory exercises so you can experience what she is talking about. It's probably possible for you to breathe in an even more beneficial way, so read the book (and do the exercises!). ...more
Joanne McKinnon
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Self-reflective practice

For me, meditation started as a yearly self-reflective period. Now I practice yoga and meditation daily. Still, something was missing. I tended to hyperventilate and this caused headaches and pain in shoulders and neck. It’s not until I was a few chapters in that I realized I needed breath works. Such a relief.
Amanda Hart
Mar 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive read and surprised me with how much there is to know about the 'breath'. I've certainly learned much from this and incorporating the techniques learned to support my health and wellbeing. A little challenging perhaps for those with no anatomical awareness but certainly educational. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Good quality, practical learning on the far-reaching impact of breathing patterns

As highly instructional as it is informative. Easy to read and straight to the point. Make sure to participate in the exercises described, as they are a big part of the learning.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books from yoga teacher training.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it!! The book was a brilliantly refreshing blend of practices from various lines of thought and a lovely complement to yoga. I enjoyed it tremendously.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Essential pranayama book.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I found that the relaxed abdominal breathing hurt my back. Perhaps I wasn’t doing these exercises correctly?
Tracey Agnew
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donna Farhi writes in a very engaging way and provides plenty of practical exercises to help the reader explore the breath
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful reference and will be using breathing exercises daily
Mark Oronoz Knight
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on breathwork in yoga and everyday life.
Jun 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yogis
Shelves: forthespirit
i really like donna farhi. i had the opportunity to take a workshop with her and it really changed the way i practice yoga and move in general. one day i hope to study with her in new zealand. annie, you should read this.
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
And, you thought you knew how to breathe. This book offers additional insights and exercises to help you achieve proper yogic breathing techniques, which inevitably lead to better breathing during your daily life.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to use their breath in ways to reduce stress and feel better. This book is extremely accessible for all readers and will make you completely fascinated by your own breath through all the guided inquiries.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really exceptional and useful book so far - in yoga and especially in daily life. Have reduced amount of asthma med since I started reading the book, doing the exercises and incorporating these into life in general.
Tracy Weber
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I only normally recommend Viniyoga books, but his one has some wonderful breath practices that I liberally steal for my teacher training program. A great text for people looking to explore the power of the breath!
I think I very much need this book! My breathing techniques need serious work!
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great exercises to improve both your breathing and your awareness of your breathing. Even if you regularly practice yoga or meditation, these exercises can help give you new insight into the breath.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga, non-fiction
I read this book for my yoga teachering training course and enjoyed the author's ideas, suggestions, and exercises to help broaden my knowledge and use of the breath in yoga and in life. ...more
Terri Kirkman
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
great book about using the breath to heal
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