When Nguyen Tran traveled from Vietnam to Australia to study engineering, he was faced with the stresses of culture shock, the language barrier, and an overwhelming course load. A chance visit to a used bookstore led him to take up hatha yoga for stress relief. Yoga traditionally separates asanas (physical exercises) and pranayama (breath work), but Tran combined the two and found the mix beneficial.
Mind Control Through Breath Regulation explains this mix of held poses and focused breathing using theories of quantum physics. The “mind control” in the title is just that: relaxation derived from holding a posture while breathing and moving one’s attention up and down seven points along the spinal column. Tran explains his breathing exercises in terms of charged particles, electrons, and subatomic waves, and suggests visualizing “charges spinning in clockwise loops” through the energy centers during one of his exercises. The glossary and appendices will help clarify matters for those with a physics’ background; lay readers are likely to focus on the three-page math problem contained therein, and feel overwhelmed.
Tran describes four types of breath work: modified normal, oxygenating, quantum and resonance breath. All are well explained, though concentrating on breath is nothing new; yoga emphasizes conscious breathing, and the seven focus points are similar to chakras.
The book is limited to Tran’s theory, experience and results as applied to his particular challenges, including a case of eczema and poor table tennis skills. What worked for him may not work for everyone. There are numerous illustrations and diagrams–the book is visually lovely–but they’re sometimes hard to follow. The arrows pointing to and from energy centers plus instructions on which direction to face tend to look like a bus schedule for a large city and complicate the otherwise simple idea of focusing attention on specific places in the body.
Despite such flaws, instructors or those looking to deepen their regular practice may find useful ways to do so here.