cover image Follow Your Breath: Transform Yourself Through Breathwork

Follow Your Breath: Transform Yourself Through Breathwork

Emma Power and Jenna Meade. Hardie Grant, $22.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-74379-795-2

Power (When Love Goes South), who teaches relationship workshops, and journalist Meade describe how to “calm and heal” oneself through breathwork in this tranquil outing. They provide breathing techniques intended to “lower stress and anxiety, boost vitality, productivity, and sleep, increase creativity and improve cardiovascular health,” and note that proper breathing requires engaging one’s diaphragm so that one’s belly pushes out as one inhales. Ancient yogis, Power and Meade write, concluded from studying rabbits and elephants that animals with slow heartbeats live longer, and to that end the authors recommend slowing down by lengthening one’s inhalations and exhalations to five seconds each. The easy-to-follow practices include illustrations that demonstrate form, such as how to execute “alternate nostril breathing” by holding one’s pointer and middle fingers between one’s eyebrows and taking turns closing one’s nostrils with the ring finger and thumb. Other exercises tend toward the introspective, including one to get in touch with one’s inner child by contemplating an “unresolved” memory from one’s youth while breathing deeply and repeating “I am safe to feel my emotions.” Though the prose is occasionally opaque (“You can grow your emotional agility and flex your mental musculature”), the exercises are simple and drive home the message that “everything you need is within you.” This is an ideal manual for taking life slowly. (Jan.)