We all know that a good teacher can determine the success or failure of your practice. In the same manner, a good book will keep you motivated to learn a new thing every time you read it. It is the same when it comes to pranayama.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to pranayama. Even though it is one of the simplest practices, it can be challenging how such a simple exercise can have such great effects and how to utilize it to achieve what you need. That is where a book on pranayama comes in handy.
The market is filled with different pranayama books. As expected, choosing the best pranayama book can be a challenge. Fortunately, we have prepared this post to give you detailed reviews of some of the best books on pranayama. Here we go.
Before we go into the books, let’s start by understanding what pranayama is.
It is mainly referred to as a practice of techniques involving conscious breathing. It is an important part of yoga. You can understand it better when you break down the name into two.
The first part, prana, refers to the energy in the universe. It is the vital energy or life force that is found in everything, including us and everything else in the universe. Yama, on the other hand, can be translated to a container. It is a method of mastering or controlling something.
In that manner, you understand that pranayama is a science that involves consciously mastering or controlling the body’s energies.
It does not matter how you translate it. Several techniques are used to help you enhance your body and mind functions. These techniques all fall under pranayama.
Importance of Mastering your Breath
Pranayama uses the simple practice of breathing and transforms it into an automatic function. Awareness is included in the process.
The process was developed initially after close observation of breathing. It was used to help direct and regulate breathing in and out for some specific purposes. It was discovered that the process would help a person cultivate life force energy in a person’s body. As a result, there were many emotional, physical, and mental advantages.
These advantages include improving self-awareness, focusing the mind, deeper relaxation, amplification of energy levels, and reduction of anxiety, among many more.
Best Books on Pranayama
For you to use this technique properly, some guidance is important. For that reason, we have prepared a list of some of the best books you can read on pranayama. Let’s look at these books.
1. Pranayama Rahasya (The secrets of Pranayama)
Swami Ramdev, a popular person in Indian Yoga, has written this book, focusing on Pranayama in a therapeutic aspect. It is a book that focuses on the exposition of practices that the writer has tried himself. It also includes some meditation, experiments, as well as the awakening of some power.
In the book, you will understand the important aspects such as prana, body sheaths, and more. Finally, you will get an idea of how to start meditating.
If you want to use this practice for certain ailments, then this would be the book for you. Additionally, if you want to try it at home and connect it with kundalini and chakras, it will work for you.
However, if you are looking for a book to give you some ideas to include in your practice, it is not the one for you. It also does not include graphical demonstrations.
2. Yoga of Breath by Rodney Yee
This book on pranayama is a perfect choice for a beginner. It has a unique approach to pranayama and gives the reader a step-by-step guide to help illustrate pranayama practically. It does not matter how much you know about the concept of conscious breathing. As long as you read this, you will be able to get a good idea.
The writer, currently a yoga teacher, will make use of props in his practices and include some very clear instructions.
Therefore, if you are a beginner and would like to understand pranayama better, then this book is for you. Additionally, if you want to integrate the practice of pranayama into your practice, as well as deepen your current pranayama practice, then this is the one for you.
At the same time, if you are a teacher hoping to understand the instructions to give your students better, then you should take a peek.
3. Mind Your Breathing by Sundar Balasubramanian
As you would expect from the title, this book digs into different breathing techniques for yoga, and not the ones we are used to. It makes use of some new techniques.
The writer explains the breathing techniques well with the help of some illustrations. It also includes some instructions that have some variations and modifications. If you want to go a step further than the normal techniques you are used to, then you should go for this book.
More than that, this book includes some of the personal experiences that the writer has gone through.
If you want to try a new challenge, explore some new techniques, and explore deeper into pranayama, then this book is the right choice for you.
However, if what you are looking for is some in-depth understanding of certain pranayama techniques, this book will not help you.
4. Light on Pranayama by B.K.S. Iyengar
The author of this book has been a huge part of the yoga community for more than 50 years and has made a major impact on yoga’s popularity in the West. In this book, the author talks in deep detail about the workings and the benefits of the exercise.
To be honest, the book might be a bit technical for a beginner, especially with the terms used. However, while developing your serious practice, you will crave knowledge of these things. You will also find great details about different supplementary practices including the postures, hand gestures, and locks.
After you become familiar with the foundational aspects, you will be taken deeper into the aspects and methodologies used.
Each pranayama presented in the book is instructed carefully and extensively. The author has ensured that each aspect and dimension of pranayama is addressed meticulously. You will also find detailed protocols, photographs, diagrams, as well as precautions.
Even though this is not a guide that takes you step by step, it will give you adequate information to help you integrate pranayama into your practice.
5. The Science of Pranayama – Swami Sivananda
The author, Swami Sivananda, closed his medical practice to embrace spirituality. He has made vast contributions to spiritual literature. His literature has been highly recognized by enthusiasts from all over the globe.
In the book, you will find his take on pranayama. He focuses on methods more than philosophy and theory. The approach is straight to the point and is a perfect choice for anyone who already has an understanding of the basics.
For instance, the first chapter will talk about the basic concepts and explain Pingala, Ida, and Sushumna.
This book indeed uses a lot of Sanskrit terms, which is one of the downsides some people might consider this book. However, if you need any good information, you will have to get used to such terms. At the end of the book, you will find a glossary, which helps to explain the Sanskrit terms in English, which makes them easier to understand.
You will notice that this book is mainly an analysis of the concept of pranayama with some information regarding psychological and physiological effects related to breathing.
6. Prana and Pranayama by Swami Niranjanananda
This book features a total of 282 pages where you get knowledge about the subject of pranayama. It is a book that focuses on a range of topics that are described in an easy language to make it easier to understand. You will notice, however, that there are references to classic texts.
You will notice the philosophy or prana handles in the first 65 pages of the book. This section deals with life energy, sheaths, energy centers, as well as energy pathways. In the second section, the writer talks about the physiology related to breathing and will give you a yogi’s understanding of breath science. Later on, the book dives into the practice and gives some scientific research to back it up.
In the book, you will find some different methods and protocols meant to help you understand, experience, and identify prana within your breath. Finally, the book tackles some supplementary practices including bandhas, mudras, and asanas that are relevant to pranayama.
7. The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath – Yogi Ramacharaka
The Indian author who presents the book takes you into a deeper exploration of breathing. In the book, you will find the different concepts and practices of breathing. That includes the way you breathe, the involvement of the lungs’ ineffective breathing, the effects of nostril vs. mouth breathing on the brain, as well as the spiritual essence of yogi’s breathing.
You can see a Hindu touch in the approach taken by the author to define the concepts of breathing. As you continue to read the book, you gain more and more interest.
This is a book meant for anyone who intends to increase knowledge on breathing and pranayama. It also helps people who are about to begin pranayama but need to understand the concept first.
8. Pranayama, the breath of Yoga – Gregor Maehle
This is an author with a couple more books on yoga. In this specific book, he talks about the different benefits of pranayama. These are the spiritual, mental, as well as therapeutic benefits. They are explained in a manner that is completely easy to understand.
You will find the role, function, and meaning of prana concerning yoga. After that, you will find some detailed explanations backed with some illustrations for alternate nostril breathing, selective nostril breathing, as well as bellows breathing.
What’s more, you will find complementary and subsidiary practices including mantra, and mantra, as well as more yoga practices that you can use before and after pranayama.
One of the reasons why we chose this book is the fact that it talks about how your breath will affect different brain hemispheres and your nervous system. Additionally, he will discuss the best postures, best diet, as well as breath retention application.
9. Donna Farhi’s Good Health and Vitality through Essential Breath Work
Donna Farhi, a yoga instructor, helps to make breathwork not only accessible but completely simple. The yoga instructor will guide the reader carefully through some techniques that cause changes immediately.
It is a book that works perfectly for anyone who is dealing with daily stress or asthma. It is a guide to the best breathing methods and their effects on your body.
10. Just Breath – Dan Brule
This book is mainly focused on the way martial artists and elite athletes make use of their breath and the way you as a yogi, can make use of it.
It discusses how you can make use of your breath to feel better and improve your life. In the book, you will get some practical simple exercises that will help you improve your overall self-worth and release any negativity that might hinder your success.
Different people might indeed write books only to get your money. However, we have considered different authors and their repetitions before including them on our list. We hope that any of the books included in our list will help you achieve the desired results.