Non Fiction Review: 5-Minute Stress Relief

5-Minute Stress Relief by Elena Welsh
5-Minute Stress Relief: 75 Exercises to Quiet Your Mind and Calm Your Body
by Elena Welsh

5 out of 5 stars

The first chapter in this book discusses what causes stress and how it affects our bodies and minds. It goes through common emotional and physical symptoms of stress, and how we can change our behavior and reactions to better handle stress.

The second chapter begins the exercises for stress relief with simple things like focusing on the breath, being mindful of your surroundings, and activities like reading for pleasure, talking to someone about how you feel, quieting your mind, listening to music, and laughing more. Each of these come with detailed instructions that list the benefits of the activity. With guided meditations, positive affirmations, and instructions for using essential oils, this chapter has a lot of wonderful ideas for relieving stress. Continue reading

Board Book Review: Let’s Make Yoga Magic

Let's Make Yoga Magic by Heather Leah
Let’s Make Yoga Magic
by Heather Leah, Sandie Sonke (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

This board book has interactive levers, wheels, and pop ups that help to teach children about different yoga poses. The text explains the pose in very simple terms, along with something for the child to imagine while they do the pose.

For example, in bridge pose you can imagine that a river is flowing underneath you and your legs and arms are the bridge across the water. Children can pretend to be a snake, a dog, a mountain, a butterfly, a dancer, a tree, a plane, a pretzel, a boat, a warrior, and a dragon! All of these correspond with the traditional yoga pose, and add an element of fun and awareness to the practice of yoga.

The text is told in rhyme and beautifully written!

Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Bedtime Meditations for Kids

Bedtime Meditations for Kids by Cory Cochiolo
Bedtime Meditations for Kids: Quick, Calming Exercises to Help Kids Get to Sleep
by Cory Cochiolo

5 out of 5 stars

This book gives exercises in imagination and sharing to help a child unwind at the end of the day and get ready for sleep. Some of the guided prompts encourage a child to share a worry that is keeping them awake, or list all the good things they did that day, or pretend to be as light as feather, or list all the things they like about themselves.

There are exercises for being more aware, floating into sleep, expressing your feelings, managing anger, and mood-changing exercises that help you to manage difficult emotions and have a better attitude. There are also breathing meditations that focus on the breathe, or on how your body feels when it’s tense or relaxed.

Most of the exercises use your imagination to pretend you are a fairy, a cloud, a dragon, a penguin, or a turtle. You can imagine that you jump and fly in the sky, or that you live in a bubble mansion, or that you can ride up and down in a magical elevator.
There are also games for children to “get the wiggles out” before bedtime, and dance around, then lie still and calm. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: In Tune

In Tune by Richard Wolf
In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness
by Richard Wolf

2 out of 5 stars

This book teaches the reader how to meditate by focusing on the breath using techniques of listening and creativity that musicians also use.

As a professional pianist, I didn’t quite find what I expected in this book. I thought it would be a book about USING music as a way to meditate, but this is mostly about how music practice and meditation practice share the same techniques and characteristics. I guess I was looking for advice about meditating WHILE playing an instrument or listening to music, but the author advises meditating in complete silence.

The writing is clear and interesting, but verbose and repetitive. The writing style is beautifully lyrical, but quickly becomes tedious as each paragraph is overloaded with words.

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Non Fiction Review: Essential Chakra Yoga

Essential Chakra Yoga by Christina D'Arrigo
Essential Chakra Yoga: Poses to Balance, Heal, and Energize the Body and Mind
by Christina D’Arrigo

5 out of 5 stars

This book guides the reader through an incredible journey using yoga to balance the energy in the body known as chakras. The first chapters give an overview of the seven main chakras, and how they affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. Each chakra overview includes positive affirmations about the area of life that corresponds to that chakra, such as emotions for the heart chakra, or expressing yourself with the throat chakra.
Then there are yoga poses, illustrated with simple drawings, that activate and clear each chakra for a smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Good Intentions

Good Intentions by Jasmine Tarkeshi
Good Intentions: A Guided Yoga Journal for a More Meaningful Practice
by Jasmine Tarkeshi

4 out of 5 stars

This guided journal begins each 3-page chapter with a few paragraphs on yoga sutras, philosophies of peace, or a proverb of wisdom for the reader to contemplate. Then the reader is encouraged to set an intention for their yoga practice to apply the wisdom to their own lives and reflect on their own spirit. And a few prompts are provided with a blank page where the reader can record their thoughts and introspection about the topic.

The first section of daily meditations focuses on tuning in to yourself and recognizing your own energy, and then there are sections for tapping into the observing witness within yourself, letting go of worries and embracing truth, practicing self-care and compassion, and finally extending grace to yourself and others.

I really liked how the meditations gradually take you deeper into a more positive mind-set, opening up your inner thoughts and providing healing. This is a great companion to a yoga practice! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Mindfulness Journal for Teens

The Mindfulness Journal for Teens by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA,...
The Mindfulness Journal for Teens: Prompts and Practices to Help You Stay Cool, Calm, and Present
by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA, LMFT

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This beautiful guided journal prompts the reader/writer to answer questions, contemplate quotes about peace and mindfulness, practice meditations, focus on the breath, embrace personal affirmations, and write down their thoughts.

The best thing about this book is the beautiful design and calming colors on each page. It makes me want to open the book and notice every little leaf and fruit design around the edges while I do the meditations.

The prompts begin with a simple noticing of your emotions, your body, and surroundings, and then move into more deep contemplations and journal instructions about your insecurities, your strengths and fears. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: 5 Minute Mindfulness Meditations for Teens

5-Minute Mindfulness Meditations for Teens by Nicole Libin
5-Minute Mindfulness Meditations for Teens
by Nicole Libin

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book begins with explaining what meditation is, and what it isn’t, assuring the reader that you don’t have to force happy, peaceful emotions or clear your mind of all thought in order to successfully meditate. It’s just about being present and aware in each moment, and finding acceptance no matter what thoughts or emotions come up.

One thing that I did not like about the explanation section is that it promotes some very leftist ideas and abnormal ideologies as though they are normal. “In a society where you’re judged and targeted for things you can’t control, like your sexuality, the color of your skin, or your body or gender identity…” “[Meditation] can’t do much about racism, homophobia, or sexism on a broad scale. But it can help you deal with all that…”
It seems silly to lump racism in with gender identity. They are completely different issues. Continue reading

Book Review: The Everything Guide to Meditation

The Everything Guide to Meditation for Healthy Living: Reduce Stress, Improve Health, and Increase Longevity
The Everything Guide to Meditation for Healthy Living: Reduce Stress, Improve Health, and Increase Longevity by David R. Dillard-Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A comprehensive look at many different meditation traditions and styles from different religions and beliefs, along with their development, prominent figures in history, and explanations of how to practice each meditation style. It includes easy meditation for beginners all the way up to more advanced techniques.

I found a lot of good ideas about how to deepen my meditation practice, and I was inspired by many of the concepts and quotes, but some of the religious and mystical practices were way too creepy and/or strange.

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