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4.0 out of 5 starsYogic breathing made easy
Reviewed in the United States on 6 September 2010
One might say that breathing is like elevators in that we go about our days without paying much notice to them unless, of course, they are not working properly. Inhaling and exhaling is such an automatic act that the idea that breathing can be improved would hardly cross our minds. And yet, centuries ago, Yogis understood that the breath, prana, nourished both the body and the mind and developed techniques that encouraged proper breathing.
In his two-CD program, "Freeing the Breath," Leslie Kaminoff teaches the listener some of these Yogic breathing exercises. Session One is about 79 minutes long and it's divided into 12 sections. After a short introduction, Kaminoff devotes sections 2 through 4 to explaining yoga concepts such as prana and apana, to defining the process of breathing and to describing the role that the diaphragm plays in proper breathing. Sections 5 through 12 are guided practices in which the listener learns to pay attention to the act of breathing and becomes aware of how different parts of the body (the abdomen, rib cage, the spine) relate, move and feel when breathing is done properly. Each of the breathing techniques taught in these sections also brings its own therapeutic benefits. For example, the shoulder girdle drop helps release tension in the neck and shoulder areas. The shining skull exercise, or kapalabhati, cleanses the body from carbon dioxide. The 3-part breath shows us where knots and tensions are along the breath pathway.
Session Two is about 64 minutes long. This CD is divided into 5 sections that varied from 6 minutes to 20 minutes in length. In Session Two, Kaminoff guides the listener through exercises that can be done while sitting, standing or lying down. The listener can choose to do them in any order or follow Kaminoff's suggested sequence. The practices in this Session are a combination of the exercises already learned in Session One. Seated exercises can be done on the floor or sitting on a chair. Lying exercises should be done on a firm but comfortable surface. The last section of this CD is devoted to tips on how proper breathing can relieve stress at work and help in a weight loss program.
Kaminoff makes yogic breathing concepts understandable through the use of imagery and visualizations. His voice is very calm and relaxing (I confess I dozed off while doing the lying down exercises). His cuing could be a bit better though because, for example, by the time he asks to hold the breath, I was already exhaling. The other thing I wish for this program is that it would come with a little booklet or insert containing all the yoga terms (I like to know the correct spelling) and drawings or photos showing the correct posture for the exercises. Some listeners may not know what the warrior pose looks like. Overall, I found this 2-CD program educational and interesting. As somebody who practices yoga occasionally, I though this CD to be a complement to my exercise DVD collection as it concentrates on yogic breathing, something that is taught in a passing way on most yoga exercise DVDs.
4.0 out of 5 starsexcellent introductory audio resource; happy I used it
Reviewed in the United States on 23 September 2010
This CD set was authored by L. Kaminoff, an experienced yoga practitioner with a special interest in anatomy. Mindful breathing is so wonderful, and these CD's may help. The outline in the Product Description seems reasonably accurate, so I won't repeat it.
Here's what I thought worthwhile: 1. Personally, I thought the author had a positive, crisp, and clearly enunciated voice tone, without a perpetually upbeat (but often artificial) "rah-rah-rah" style, or a cloyingly unnatural droning voice I've often encountered on such audios. I've fallen asleep in many lectures but not for these CD's! Other reviewers felt he was boring, but I felt his matter-of-fact style maintained my interest -- if you like this type of presentation, "Freeing" may be the one for you. Otherwise, consider something else -- no problem. It may be good for Amazon to offer segments of such CD's for you to preview, as they do with books. 2. I found his descriptions and definitions accurate without being overdetailed or overdeveloped. He made his point, he illustrated it well -- and then he moved on. Good. 3. His analogies were clear and interesting; for instance, he compares breathing to the processes found in an individual cell, which was far easier to understand than the very complicated and unfamiliar yogic system of pranas and the like. 4. The presentation seemed to "flow" well, with excellent transitions and connections with other lecture segments. I never felt the "huh?" sensation, in other words. 5. Breathing exercises formed much of the CD. They seemed excellent, and allowed me to attend to my body as it interacted with the breath, with interest and connection. I paused the CD now and then to extend the exercises. 6. He concludes with suggestions for using breath analysis in daily life (including knowing your "baseline" breathing in yoga or meditation, and observing the changes as you come under daily stress or happiness).
On the other hand, the CD has no written outlines, references, etc. -- not even how to access his website. I had to stop the CD and write down info at several points. This lack is why I gave it just four stars. A website with some diagrams, summaries, etc. would be valuable, and you may be interested in two websites associated with the author, which you can find by keying in his name to your search engine (they couldn't transfer to this review). You can find the author's DVD and book on Amazon. The author discusses anatomy frequently, and since anatomy is an important health subject, consider a reference book (such as F. Netter, Parker and Winston, the Anatomy Coloring Book, or the book on Yoga Anatomy).
4.0 out of 5 starsThis Makes My Yoga Classes 100 Times More Effective
Reviewed in the United States on 19 December 2010
I'm a big fan of yoga/Pilates taking part in three classes a week at my local gym. I do it for relaxation, stress-relief, flexibility, and a general sense of well-being and wouldn't trade it for anything. One of the primary things my instructor always does right at the beginning of class is to put the focus on the breath. Breathe in, breathe out, take it slow, and learn to relax your mind, body and soul with the breath. I never really paid much attention to my breath before starting yoga, but now I can't help but realize the enormous power it has over my entire body. That's why I was pleased to see this CD from a yoga educator named Leslie Kaminoff on FREEING THE BREATH.
I honestly believe we could resolve many of the chronic health problems that are brought on by stress-related circumstances if more people practiced better breathing. This is where Leslie helps out enormously! You can sense the tremendous wisdom this man has as you hear him speak so passionately about this subject. The only regret I have about this 2-CD set is that it didn't include more of a class-like set of breathing exercises as a practical example of what he teaches. But that's not to say you won't get a lot out of FREEING THE BREATH. It has made my yoga classes 100 times more effective than they were before and I'm giving this to my yoga instructor as a gift!
As a person that is just beginning to do breathwork, i enjoyed this CD. The educational piece was helpful to me and the exercises also helped me learn ways to control my breathe--and ultimately made me feel better. With regular practice, I am less tired and feel calmer.
The only reason i give this a 4 versus a 5 is that the author/reader has a very mellow voice and it makes me want to fall asleep or tune out. Once you have listened to the education pieces you can just skip those and do breathwork in future listenings.
Leslie Kaminoff teaches 7 different types of breathing in guided meditations. He also teaches breathing exercises to do while lying down, sitting, and standing.
4.0 out of 5 starsI feel these CDs do have clear benefits and once you master breathing you can skip the mind-numbing information sections.
Reviewed in the United States on 7 September 2010
Freeing the Breath was not exactly what I expected. I thought these CDs would be more relaxing and a bit less dull to listen to. I feel that it does have clear benefits and once you 'master breathing' you can skip the mind-numbing information sections. I could not get over how long and drawn out and monotonous the author's voice was. Because of this, I can see how getting started and disciplining yourself to listen to the CDs could be difficult.
This set is comprised of 2 CDs.
1st CD-breathing basics The first half of the 1st CD and portions the 2nd CD often felt like a lecture from college. (One that where I felt forced to be there.) Since this is not a book with diagrams the author describes the body in different sections and how they relate to breathing so a little anatomy is helpful. The 2nd half of the 1st CD goes over different types of breathing and I think this is useful. But to fully appreciate them I would suggest only doing 1 or 2 a day to fully master the techniques and not overwhelm your brain- you do need to concentrate to understand what he is teaching initially.
2nd CD Overall, I prefer the 2nd CD which is more about doing exercises. The author interrupted in certain sections to guide the listener but I found them somewhat distracting. His lengthy explanations often pulled me `off track.'
The author is definitely on a mission to help people free their breathe and therefore be more aware physically and even emotionally. To find your `center.' I tried his techniques and they do work. I think if you are very serious about breathing and like yoga you will find this very helpful. But if you are merely curious this set will probably bore you and/or you will feel it a bit tortuous to get through.
The instructions on this audio CD set (two discs) are clear and easy to understand; however, I believe it would be more effective if presented in a DVD format so that we could see the proper way to do an exercise.
This, in my opinion, is a great introductory set geared toward people who haven't already learned the techniques via prior yoga and meditation practice.
This is a very good introduction to understanding the breath by Leslie Kaminer. If, like me, you have been practicing yoga or breath work for years, it may be too basic for you; however, if are new to this area these CDs will get you started intelligently and safely. Leslie is a very patient teacher who clearly explains this fascinating topic. His exercises comfortably guide you through a variety of breathing styles, that you can use to relax, energize, and re-balance yourself.
I have never done any type of breathing exercises in my life and I was surprised at what these simple exercises can accomplish. They are very relaxing, but like other reviewers I felt that the voice on these CD's almost made me want to fall asleep. Making just a few of these exercises part of ones daily routine could be very helpful.