A debut manual focuses on personal transformation.
This book by Chelec Cafritz is deceptively wide-ranging given its comparatively slim page count, as the author lays out a calmly worded, comprehensive life guide that begins with a series of health mishaps. While tending her new baby, she began to experience severe neck pain; she went to a doctor, who advised her to stop looking up. After years of tolerating this persistent pain, she tried a “gentle” yoga class to help deal with the problem. At these classes, she began to experience terrifying incidents her physician characterized as “anxiety attacks.” And in an attempt to treat those episodes, she went to a “breathworker.” Through “conscious breathing,” Chelec Cafritz formed an entirely new worldview. She describes herself in this manual as having been “high-strung, something of an overachiever” without “a woo-woo bone in my body,” but “conscious breathing” changed her outlook on life. “Each inhalation, each exhalation, can be a pathway to joy, to love, to living a full and authentic life,” she writes. “Each breath links us directly to our minds, our hearts, and our souls. There is no such thing as an unimportant breath.” One strand running throughout the rest of the volume consists of useful advice on how readers can learn breathwork themselves: “Try and create slow, steady calm breaths. Feel the floor under your feet. Feel the back of the chair supporting you.” The other major strand deftly explores the insights that the author gleaned as a result of her practice of conscious breathing. Among other things, the method heightened her awareness of the “numbing” effects of long-standing, unexamined habits. Eventually, she began taking on breathwork clients of her own and included here are some memorably touching anecdotes. Chelec Cafritz’s prose throughout is exuberantly readable, with a wry self-awareness that’s often missing from books of this kind. Even nonpractitioners should find themselves breathing easier for reading these pages.
A wonderfully inviting guide that reminds readers that calm breathing is the center of life itself.