November 2023 Book Review: Deep Listening by Jillian Pransky

Many years ago, I dabbled in yoga, meaning I took a few classes here and there.  More recently I have decided that I would really like to begin a yoga practice again and luckily for me I know the perfect person to help me with that.  One of our Forward Fitness members Alicia Delaney is a yoga instructor and as I was chatting with her one day about it and she mentioned that she was planning to offer a book study, yoga, meditation course. Well, that sounded like the perfect combination to me so as soon as she offered it, I signed up.  The book that Alicia introduced to us was Deep Listening by Jillian Pranksy.  Alicia has had the opportunity to train with Pransky, so it made her the perfect person to lead our group through this book study.

Deep Listening is a book about becoming more mindful in our attempts to deal with stress.  Pransky defines deep listening as “the habit of paying close and tender attention to our body, mind, and our heart so we can meet our “stress” differently.” The book helps the reader learn how to create a daily habit of yoga, meditation, contemplation, or journaling in small incremental ways.  Each chapter brings new learnings and habits that one can use to build on each other. Her approach is that “A Little + Often = A Lot”.  The book also teaches the reader an “Instant Pause and Reset” technique that can be used anywhere and at any time. As I read the book I focused on the meditation and contemplation parts of the book the most, but it was a treat each week when our book club met to have Alicia also lead us through the restorative yoga practices and I look forward to trying them on my own in the future.

Each chapter of the book begins with a learning and these build on each other from week to week.  The book begins by teaching the reader the pause and reset method, visualization techniques, tips for becoming more grounded and breathing.  As the book progresses Pransky shares insights into how we can start to listen to ourselves so that we can change our mindsets on rest and being present not only with others but also with ourselves. 

There is also an opportunity to practice what you have learned included in each chapter. You will find a combination of contemplation and yoga poses with detailed instructions. As well as, meditation practices for you to try, journaling prompts and a pause and reset technique, with each chapter building on the previous one.  I especially liked the “Relaxmore” meditations found in each chapter. The final chapter then takes all the teachings from the book and puts them all together.    

At the end of the book there is a section that includes all the yoga poses that were introduced in the book with some ideas on how to set up your daily yoga practice.  

This book is a great introduction to mindfulness, daily practice, and restorative yoga. For anyone who is more familiar with these practices this book would provide you with tools to enhance your practice. It is set up in a way that it is easy to follow, and the ideas presented are ones that we can all use to help us alleviate some of the day-to-day stressors in our lives. Beyond that, this book is a guide to help us build new habits that allow us to become more mindful in the ways that we react to different kinds of stress.  As Pransky says, “…stress is not really the problem, The problem is that we need to respond differently.”  I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this book with Alicia and the book group that she put together. It is a book that I plan to revisit often.  While I would recommend reading this book at any time on your own, I do know that Alicia plans to do future book studies with this book so be sure and check with her if you are interested in participating in one. 

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