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  The Power of Conscious Breathing in Hatha Yoga  

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Author: Vasanthi Bhat
Publisher:Univ of Chicago Press,1996
Price:$21.95
Pages:256
Reviewer:K.R. Srinivas Iyer
There are a large number of books on yoga written by very eminent yogis. There are also books written by lovers of yoga techniques. The distinctive mark of this book is that it is neither a treatise nor a classic on the old system of yoga. I think the present need of people is not a medley of yogic asanas nor a museum of yogic and vedantic doctrines. The busy modern man, full of stresses and tensions needs a book-a simple book in plain language which will make an ancient tradition of yoga intelligible to him. Men who have lost health and are affected with debilitating diseases and tremendous official and domestic strains are crying with parched throats for solace and comfort.

I think this book can in no uncertain terms provide health, will power, peace and happiness for one and all including house makers, busy professionals, athletes, computer engineers, students, teachers and for those who wish to improve their physical, mental, and emotional condition which are impaired due to stress and strain causing many ailments. Yoga does not mean a religious ritual, whereas from the book one can easily see that yoga is primarily meant for discovering one’s innate nature-the self. The realization of the self means the discovery of prana and its control which is pranayama. The author Vasanthi has by her own example vividly proved that through conscious breathing, one can regain lost health and/or prevent ailments and maintain ones youthful exuberance. This is amply proved by a number of testimonials stated in this book by people of all ages.

The book has clearly laid bare that yoga is not something external. It is enshrined in everything. Asanas and pranayama etc. are only means for strengthening the prana itself. For having the rich harvest of human life, it is indispensable to consciously breathe and increase the power to control stress and stress-related ailments. It is the stress which has been the root cause of many diseases. The greatest power of the book if carefully and diligently studied will restore peace, tranquillity, and serenity without being conscious of it.

The author has been extremely helpful to one and all ages who approached her for help to restore their health and relieve their stress. How far she has been successful is clear from a few testimonials in this book. The author has slowly and steadily developed a unique teaching system which is least strenuous to practice and highly beneficial in restoring the lost health.

From the book one can easily gather that yoga is universal. All that is needed to practice yoga is awareness of one’s own being. The conscious breathing regulates and harmonizes the inner psychic system of man. By her tremendous personal experience, she has discovered the way towards blessedness.

Healthy mind in a healthy body is the need for the day. The most noteworthy feature of the book is that in every asana and meditation she has laid the greatest stress on conscious breathing.

For the last decades of my life, I have been trying my best to understand and practice yoga. By attending only a few classes of the author, the secret of conscious breathing in yoga became absolutely clear. Now I can emphatically assert that I have regained my lost health, vigor and vitality to a considerable extent by strictly following the wonderful guidelines which she laid out for me. In these five years, I had undergone 6 surgeries from heart bypass to stomach cancer. I recommend this book strongly for everyone without any shadow of doubt as she is divinely inspired to serve the mankind.

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