Sunday, 4 December 2016

Pranayama by Andre van Lysebeth


(I was going to plug the business I bought it off, M and J Books, but they have no detectable web presence at all. I encountered them via the Amazon UK portal. So this link won't take you there: https://www.waterstones.com/book/pranayama/andre-van-lysebeth/9780955241239 )

I only found out about the existence of this book recently, even though it was first published in 1979, via a footnote in another book I was reading. My reference treated it as a classic, and I can see why. That's why I'm reviewing it.

'Pranayama' held a number of surprises for me. At first I was put off by some curious attempts to demonstrate scientifically the existence of 'prana'. As I show in my forthcoming book 'Life Force: Sensed Energy in Breathwork, Psychedelia and Chaos Magic' we do not need the blessing of science to work with energy sensations and further, that concepts like 'prana' and 'qi' do not map smoothly onto concepts from physical science.

But then it got better and better. It covers everything, really: useful basic advice omitted by many texts on pranayama, from the control of abdominal muscles and the use of nostril-flaring to get the sensed-energy feeling through every kind of pranayama you'll have heard of and a couple you might not. It is written by a Westerner, but from a traditional perspective, making it valuable in terms of preserving Indian teachings which sometimes get lost in Western interpretations.

If breathing work interests you then this book is a must.

1 comment:

  1. this is a good book review dear! i have heard of this writer before tho. i was looking for a suitable book for me as i have grown old and have free time. thanks for this!

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