Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder consisting of repetitions of sounds, syllables, or words, or frequent, unusual hesitations and pauses that disrupt the flow of speech. Often stuttering limits occupational choice and job advancement, and can severely restrict one's social life. Those who suffer from the disorder are usually strongly motivated to find a cure or at least improve their vocal fluency. Stuttering is caused by a disorder in the right hemisphere of the brain. It is an interesting phenomenon that most of those who stutter do not stutter when they sing, and neurologists have recently found that producing prolonged sounds (such as chanting) controlled by the left hemisphere affects the right hemisphere and subsequently the ability to speak fluently. "Yoga for Stuttering" combines this understanding of neurology with yoga methods long used in India for remediation to form a new method for improving vocal fluency.
The book presents three related branches of yoga and their accompanying practices, nada yoga (chanting and vocalization), hatha yoga (yoga poses), and raja yoga (guided meditations), providing the reader with sets of voice, breathing, and physical exercises to help relax the body and mind, relieve chronic tension, and achieve fluent speech. The book is illustrated with photos of yoga sequences and illustrations to make the method easy to follow; no prior knowledge of yoga is required to understand the exercises.
J. M. Balakrishnan has graduate degrees in Speech Communications and Speech Pathology as well as a law degree. She is a national award-winning public speaker and debater. She has served as San Francisco State University's public speaking coach and has taught Speech and Debate at UC Berkeley Extension, San Francisco State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Diablo Valley College. She has also been a debate coach for Piedmont High School and Berkeley High School in the San Francisco Bay area. Ms. Balakrishnan holds a MS in Communicative Disorders, and she is certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association and licensed by the State of California to practice as a speech-language pathologist. After working with over two thousand students in the public school system, she created the Yoga for Stuttering program for people who stutter, who have not been helped by traditional means. She presently maintains a private practice in the San Francisco Bay area.