BREATHING SPACE: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman, by Katrina Repka and Alan Finger. Voice; everywomansvoice.com
In this memoir, author Katrina Repka chronicles the anxieties, opportunities, and frustrations of the New York working girl in a way that's honest, engaging, sweet, and funny. She strikes the tone of a girlfriend who's in the trenches with you. She is also quite skillful in using this writerly rapport to transmit the teachings she receives from Yogiraj Alan Finger, co-creator (with his father, Mani) of Ishta Yoga.
Finger is Repka's mentor, friend, and former employer, and in her recounting, he comes off as a wise and jolly adviser, willing to wallow in the small stuff that Repka's sweating every day. He listens compassionately to her and offers small pearls of wisdom, but mostly he points Repka toward the one tool she'll always possess to transform her experience in any moment: the breath.
Each chapter of Repka's personal narrative ends with a simple breathing exercise, expertly taught. These are practical pPranayama techniques that anyone can use to calm mind and body in the face of workday stresses and strains. Feeling too hurried? Try Fountain Breath. Mother driving you crazy? Do Equalizing Breath. Fighting with your boyfriend? Play with Unlocking the Heart Breath.
Presenting these exercises as a remedy for everyday agitations seems like a simple idea. But Repka and Finger are also making a larger point. For most of us, enlightenment will never come as a single moment of discovery experienced on a pristine mountaintop and ushered in with loud claps of thunder and blaring trumpets. Rather, it will be a series of small awakenings and realizations, experienced amid the messy business of day-to-day life.