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The 20th Century West's answer to The Science of Breath
on May 28, 1996
Ask people what they know about popular body-centered therapists Gay and
Kathlyn Hendricks and their answers usually contain the words "relationship" and
"breathing." Conscious Loving described the Hendricks's thoughts and experience
regarding relationship transformation. Conscious Breathing, by Gay Hendricks,
Ph.D. details the myriad, transformative uses of breathing he has explored.
Reading Conscious Breathing, I was reminded of the Buddha's admonition to accept
nothing based on faith or teaching, but only by your experience of its truth.
Similarly, Hendricks repeatedly describes how the various techniques in the book
have been refined and honed by his personal experience and by the experiences of
the thousands of clients and workshop participants over the last 26 years. For
example, teaching the age-old alternate nostril breathing, Hendricks shares the
particular variation of which his clients reported the most profound effects.
The wide variety of applications for breathing that he explores, makes Hendricks's
breathing inquiry, and this book, unique. Unlike methods, like Rebirthing or
Holotropic Breathwork, which focus on a particular technique and it's effects (e.g.
Holotropic's design to reproduce hallucinogenic drug experiences through
breathing), Conscious Breathing details breathing practices for everything from
releasing trauma, stress reduction, heightened athletic performance and curing
asthma to raising the body's "positive energy thermostat" and improved sexual
performance. In fact, the cathartic breathing that most people think of as
"breathwork" doesn't even appear in Conscious Breathing (but can be found in the
Hendricks's earlier book, Radiance).
This omission demonstrates the continual evolution of the Hendricks's work. Over
the years, Gay and Kathlyn's emphasis has shifted to subtly and gently removing
tensions and traumas from the body and "rewiring" it to hold a higher positive charge
rather than engaging in less directed, cathartic process sessions. In fact, the
constant development means that those who have previously learned some of the
techniques described in Conscious Breathing (e.g. the "10 Minute Daily Breathing
Program") will find changes in those teachings, and those who attend the
Hendricks's workshops will find both refinements and additions to the material in
More than merely informative, Conscious Breathing is enjoyable and Hendricks
makes his presence clearly felt. Abundant and entertaining self revelation run the
gamut from Hendricks's valuable diary of how he uses breathing on a daily basis to
the story of how his pre