Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Power of Breath - Swami Sharadananda

photo courtesy:goodreads.com
A good book for those looking for alternative therapy for better mental health. 

Disclaimer: I received this book as part of goodreads giveway in return for an honest review.

I studied reiki years ago and practised it for a brief period.  I therefore understand the importance of controlling the breath and as a practitioner of yoga and pranayama, I value and acknowledge the impact it has on our emotional happiness and physical well being. 

Breathing is such a natural thing that we are not aware of it most of the time. However, what we also don't know, is the way we breathe can have an impact on our body too. The book offers an interesting insight into the process of breathing and why is it important to breathe well.

Since I have been taught by someone and not learnt it from books, I was curious how the book could substitute for a instructor.


The book explains in neatly divided chapters the various aspects of breathing. It outlines the way we breathe, the technical aspect of it. The subsequent chapters offer various forms of breathing exercises and its effects on your mental state of mind.

What works:

  • Interesting theory with some easy to follow exercises.
  • Simple explanation of the life energy force and how it can help you.
  • There is also background information on regular practice how affects your mental health.
  • You do not have to be in a great physical shape to be able to do these exercises.
  • Most of the yoga exercises are familiar to me, having done them at some point. However, even if someone is not familiar with the practice, there are helpful pictures and easy to read instructions that allow the reader to understand and practice them. 
  • This book works for beginners as well as out of date practitioners like me. The tone is clear, motivating and encouraging. 
What doesn't:
  • It will not give you instant results. If you are looking for something more immediate then you are better off looking for a physically exerting exercise.
  • It is a gradual process, the benefits of which will be felt over a period.
I wanted to be sure that the exercises worked and therefore put them into practice before doing the review. Though I cannot claim any superb benefits, but the fact that I did upto 5 minutes of concentration on my breath made me feel good. For me this was a starting point and I am sure it will only get better from here. My mother has been practicising pranayama for years and swears by its benefits. She claims her asthma is under control thanks to the breathing exercises.

In our fast paced life, even when we take breaks we are not mentally taking one. A lot is being talked about mental health and how it is affecting people in hordes. Pressures of modern life are a big contributor and therefore we need strategies to take care of our mental health equally, if not more than physical health. It is also a well known fact, that mental states translates into physical symptoms and ailments. So taking care of mental health is the first step towards good physical health too. 

This book helps you to pause and look into within for the various answers to questions. It makes you self aware and conscious of what is happening within in. 

For that reason alone, I think this is a great book. A great tool for someone looking into alternative therapy for physical and mental well being.

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