by Jillian Pransky with Jessica Wolf Rodale Books, 2017 Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on Oct 31st 2017
In the opening chapter of this book, author Jillian Pransky describes the circumstances surrounding her first panic attack. At that point in time, Pransky was already teaching yoga—an athletic, energetic style which had always suited her competitive nature. But as her body neared exhaustion, Pransky found that she needed something different. She sought out more mindful yoga practices, eventually becoming a restorative yoga instructor and a certified yoga therapist.
In Deep Listening: A Healing Practice to Calm Your Body, Clear Your Mind, and Open Your Heart, Pransky presents methods for listening to one’s own body as a means to move towards an increased sense of well-being. Throughout the book, she shares additional personal reflections, letting readers know how this type of practice has affected change in her own life.
Each chapter follows a similar format. Pransky offers simple reflections, almost poetic-like prose around the theme of that section. The Meditation Experience provides a step-by-step guide to engaging in a short seated meditation (5-10 minutes is generally recommended). This is followed by two or three yoga posture suggestions, always ending in a restorative pose. Pransky provides instructions to “relaxmore,” releasing for 5 to 15 minutes into the final posture. In addition, she includes a segment on “relaxmore” guidelines, gentle coaxing the body and the mind to unwind. Finally, every chapter also includes Journal Prompts, or questions/suggestions to stimulate thought, and Instant Pause and Reflect, reminders to encourage grounding throughout the day.
At the end of book, Pransky offers several additional resources, including a full yoga practice, a supple psoas sequence, and a restorative posture summary. She also reviews important practice considerations such as creating a personal practice space, setting up a comfortable meditation seat, and using props.
Part-memoir, part self-help, Deep Listening provides readers with a compassionate guide to self-exploration. Writing from her own personal experience, Pransky comes across as authentic and genuine. Recommended for those who are ready to use simple yet effective yoga and mindfulness-based techniques to pursue an increased sense of relaxation and ease.