Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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The Accidental Kundalini: Courage and Balance

July 15, 2019

Warm-up to Find Your Courage

  1. Punch/March IMG_3309
  2. Ego Eradicator
  3. Cat/CowIMG_3316
  4. Boat
  5. Forward Fold
  6. Reverse Plank
  7. Push-Up
  8. Alternate Leg LiftsIMG_3314
  9. Seated MeditationIMG_3315

Kriya to Balance The Mind In The Group Energy

Sit in a close-knit circle; everyone should choose a partner. If you have groups of 4, Patty Cake (if not enough people, switch to Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma in partners)

  1. Gratitude Hands w/ Clockwise Hip-to-Head Circles (see above)
  2. Hold Hands in Silence (whole group holds hands; no one is left alone)
  3. Cactus Arms & Spirit Fingers w/Counterclockwise Circles (see above)
  4. Dance: Punjabi Style; Freely: Add Clapping
  5. Patty Cake (would like to try it with Rockin’ Robin)
  6. Surrender
  7. Rest

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  3. Brazilian Rhyme (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso
  4. Hey Hey by Muete
  5. Naive Melody (Young Edits Sophistaicated Melody Version) by The Talking Heads
  6. Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Nirinjan Kaur
  7. Hallelujah by Jai-Jageesh
  8. Heartbeat by Taana Gardner
  9. Shake The Mind by C Cat Trance
  10. Adidas To Addis by Cut Chemist
  11. Har by Snatam Kaur
  12. Har by Tera Naam
  13. Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson
  14. Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma
  15. Fantasia Inca by Various Artists
  16. Fantasia Inca by A. Caste
  17. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur


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The Accidental Kundalini: Release Elementary Stress and Build Strength and Stability

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Yoga on the Downtown Common, Framingham

Saturday July 13th, 2019

This weeks Kundalini Fusion class is based on two kriya’s. The first for Releasing Elementary Stress and the second for Strength and StabilityIMG_2987. I had one lesson planned out but was so inspired by my own class last night that I did some adjusting and I am even more satisfied with the flow now. In general, for maximum benefit, kriya’s should be done in full,  but this is not a Kundlini yoga class-just one inspired by it. I also know that benefit will be reaped even in this fusion form. What can I say…I like to color outside the lines. I want to do something that no one else is doing which will be the authentic representation of the energy inside my soul that inspires me to dance. #AlwaysBeDancing

Elementary stress causes imbalances by creating blockages inside the body. They act like a dam blocking the flow of prana/life force energy through the body-therefore causing illnesses to arise physically, emotionally, and energetically. We need to open the flood gates to release this stress.

Sometimes we have to create friction (and even look at our own inner friction) to initiate change. By channeling energy into our third chakra, the seat of our willpower, we can become stronger and more stable and will be able to initiate, carry through and absorb positive change in our bodies and out lives.

July is an exceptionally fiery and creative month. Use friction to your advantage to channel energy for good within you and let go of destructive, negative habits. Use this “hot” energy/friction as a positive tool to proactively move forward in your life.

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  3. Initiation by DJ Taz Tashid & Ingmarlo
  4. Boy With A Coin by Iron & Wine
  5. Brazilian Rhyme (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso
  6. Hey Hey by Muete
  7. Dinner At Sugarbush by Brent Lewis
  8. Expansion by Lonnie Liston Smith
  9. Rock Creek Park by The Blackbyrds
  10. Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Nirinjan Kaur
  11. If At First You Don’t Succeed by Aaliyah
  12. Ease My Mind (DJ Premier Remix) by Arrested Development
  13. Me Myself &I by De LA Soul
  14. Ram Ram Haree Ram Ram Ram Haree Haree meditation by Snatam Kaur
  15. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur
  16. Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson

 

Sequence: Once started, the class will flow in it’s natural form. Not all parts of the sequence may be practiced.

  1. Seated Warm-up
  2. Slap n’ Clap in 5’s
  3. Rib Slap
  4. No-No Hands
  5. Drum the Ground 
  6. Seated Dance
  7. Chattr Chakkr meditation. Rhythmically sit straight. Hypnotically go to sleep.
  8. Eagle
  9. Treadmill
  10. Stretch Pose
  11. Cross Crawl
  12. Ram Ram Haree Ram Ram Ram Haree Haree meditation. Egyptian mudra
  13. Rest/Savasana
  14. (Possible: Group clapping game, if time permits)

 


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Brainy Day Yoga

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This week’s yoga classes are based on the brain, stress and Neuroplasticity. I love the word Neurosculptor (Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.). “Neuro”means “brain” and “sculptor” who is someone who “reshapes, carves, styles”…so as a Neurosculptor you are the sculptor of your own brain. The brain is amazing, that is for sure! We have the ability to sculpt our brains. With determination to learn and by practicing what we learn., we become more and more able to do things because our brains change with each new thing that we learn. 51fGFBSOapL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Determination (What a GREAT word!). I see this word as very active and internally driven. “What is the difference between confidence and determination?” I believe that, “Confidence can waiver because it seems more stagnant and momentary, where as determination is active and requires focus and effort, so it does not become stagnant.”

What is determination? It is bravery, courageousness, being energetic, persistent, driven, gutsy, purposeful and spunky! It is GROWTH. With determination, we can do hard things!

The more we can focus, plan and practice, the more efficient our brains work. We get smarter and smarter by learning new things and by practicing what we learn. Have the determination to persist even when it’s tough, because intelligence grows and expands. It, like the word determination, is not stagnant. Learning is like lifting weights for the brain-it is exercise, it helps you get stronger and feeling better. Also, do not be afraid to make mistakes as the old saying goes, “Learn from your mistakes”. Mistakes train your brain too! It is better to RISK being wrong as a new pathway will be created for more learning. Risk= Take a chance=Dare. You will be braver; more confident and in turn, more determined to keep on going. Stand on the edge of that diving board and go for it!!!

***I point out here, especially in reference to my work in the schools and working to get teachers involved in this mindful process; It is very important for adults, educators and parents to understand this, because by keeping this in the forefront of their professional practices or their parenting style, can remind them that when a student or their child is struggling, it is not because they cannot learn but because they need more practice and instructional support-maybe come at the situation from a different angle.

BRAIN HOUSE

Imagine your brain is a house. The people who live upstairs are your THINKERS: Planning Penelope, Problem Solving Peter, Peace Keeping Pari, Flexible Felicia, Kind Karl, Wise Wilma. The people who live downstairs are your FEELERS: Worried Willa, Nervous Nelly, Anxious Aisha, Easily Upset Eliot, Angry Alexander, Fearful Frieda, Sound-The-Alarm Stevie


When the two floors are working together messages can go up and down the stairs, between the two floors. Problems get solved, new challenges are met and a calm way of being is in effect. When you FLIP YOUR LID, the two floors are no longer connected and they can no longer work together for a solution, so the downstairs folks take over and there is a time of confusion, easy out bursts and no problem solving is accomplished.


To help with brain flexibility and strength, yoga constantly pushes the mind and body to be more open-minded and to want learn more. Yoga can help change the way the brain “thinks” by, over time, creating and strengthening new neurons and neural pathways to help get out of ruts and stuck old ways of thinking. Yoga boosts executive functioning and emotional resilience.

Studies looking at how the brain changes before and after meditation found that brain structures involved in awareness, attention and self-related thinking changed in structure and increased in volume. Plus, after eight weeks of meditation training, research found that the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, developed more gray matter density.

 

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The Brain: Prefrontal Cortes, Hippocampus & Amygdala

THE BRAIN

The brain is the center of the Nervous System. The nervous system is the highway along which your brain sends and receives information about what is happening in the body and around it.

The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The brain lies protected inside the skull (originally 22 bones which fuse) and from there controls all the body functions by sending and receiving messages through nerves. It gets the messages from your senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and moving. The messages travel from nerve cells all over the body. They travel along nerve fibers to nerve cells in the brain.

  1. The Prefrontal Cortex is at the very front of your brain, in the cerebral cortex. It is your Wise Old Owl. The decision maker: yes or no?; should I or shouldn’t I?; true or false? This area helps you with learning and focus. The best thing for this part of your brain is for you to remain calm in order to for you to be able to learn at your best.
  1. The Hippocampus, from the ancient Greek “Hippo” which means “horse” and then “kampus” which means “sea” (seahorse) because this area looks like a 2 seahorses side-by-side, one in the left side of the brain and the other in the right side, is buried deep inside the brain. This is your filing cabinet, that stores all your long-term memories.
  1. The Amygdala, which is basically attached to the end of the seahorse, is the center that controls your emotions, more specifically, your fears. This is your Security Guard, there to protect you. Here we see the Fight of Flight response initiated. Now, if you were a caveman and you came across a saber toothed tiger, you would need the ability to decide very quickly whether to stay and fight the beast, run away or freeze and become food. If you decided to stay, you would need to be the best warrior you could be and if you decided to run, then you would need to be the fastest runner. For this you would need your body to be working very efficiently so all your bodily and mental functions could help you out! This is stressful to you and your heart rate increases. You sweat, your muscles get ready to spring and your mind is focused on your one objective. But not everything needs to be experienced with such a stressful response and instead by activating the Relaxation Response (*see Herbert Benson), we can get through lesser stressors without them taking a toll on our body. Group discussion about big, medium, small problems and other ways we can solve things without getting stressed out.

Interesting facts about the human brain

  • Your brain has around 100 billion nerve cells
  • Your brain keeps on growing until you are about 20 years old. By then the brain has made lots of links which it no longer needs so it is able to shed any unwanted connections and still have billions of brain cells left to cope with whatever you may want to do. You can still make new connections even when you are 100 years old, so get Grandma going on the computer – she may not learn as fast as you but she can do it!
  • The front of the human brain is larger than any other animal’s, even the dinosaur’s!
  • The left side of your brain is usually better at problem solving, maths and writing.
  • The right side of the brain is creative and helps you to be good at art or music.
  • The brain stores all sorts of things in the memory including facts and figures and all the smells, tastes and things you have seen, heard or touched.
  • Your brain can also find things that you have remembered.
  • The adult brain weighs about 3lbs.

Looking after your brain

Your brain is protected inside your skull and is cushioned by cerebral-spinal fluid but could still be damaged if your head is hit or bumps into something hard.

  • Always wear a helmet if you are riding a bike, scooter or skate board.
  • Always wear a helmet for sports where you could be hit or fall, eg baseball, horse-riding, skiing & snowboarding .
  • Never dive into water unless you know how deep it is. (Your brain should let you know that this is not a smart thing to do.)
  • Listen to that ‘voice’ inside you – you know what I mean, the one that says ‘This is not a good idea!’

Apart from making sure that you don’t injure your brain, you can also make sure that you help your brain by:

  • Eating healthy food like fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking milk and not eating too much junk food.
  • Exercising your brain by learning new things and trying to remember them.
  • Getting plenty of sleep.

5-5-5 Breathing to Calm Down

One part of our nervous system gives us more energy when we need it. This part is called the sympathetic nervous system. Another part helps calm us down when we are too excited. This part is called the parasympathetic nervous system. When you get upset, nervous, or anxious, we can trigger our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us down.

Follow these steps.

  1. Inhale very slowly through your nose for 5 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5.
  2. Exhale very slowly through your nose or mouth for 5 seconds: 1-2-3-4-5.
  3. Suspend breath and pump belly 5 times: 1-2-3-4-5.
  4. Repeat the process 3-5 more times
  5. Notice how you feel. (Hopefully you will feel calmer.)

This is an AWESOME breath for an overall sense of calm and inner focus.

In Kundalini yoga, kriyas are sets of postures, movements or breath patterns which, when all performed as a sequence, lead mind and body to a specific desired outcome, such as eliminating stress in the body. Each standalone movement within the kriya will change how you feel, but by practicing the full set, we will physically change our entire body.

Self-care is vitally important. Taking care of yourself needs to be your number one focus. The less stressed you are the happier, healthier and more wholly well you will be and there fore will be more able to give of yourself to work, family, friends and life in general. How can you add some stress-relief into your daily routine? You need to put your air mask on first before you can be of service to others.

Kundalini Kriya for Stress-Relief

The following Kundalini kriya is specifically designed for self-care with an emphasis on relieving stress.

Step 1:
Listen to Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo while breathing. This chant awakens our inner teacher and wisdom. It sets us up to focus in on ourselves & devote this time to our inner well-being. *I am not a certified Kundalini teacher nor am I a Sikh, but I am 100% enamored with the art and science of kundalini. My goal is to bring this powerful tool into the world through non-sectarian means.
Step 2:
Begin standing and wrap your arms around yourself so you are hugging your lower ribs as tight as you can. Begin extending alternate legs forward, and as you build momentum, make each extension a little jump. This lifts the heart rate, shakes out any tension in the legs, ankles and feet, and loosens up the hips. 3-5 minutes.
Step 3:
This exercise is the same as step 2, but now we add a forward bend to touch the toes after each leg kick (kick/kick/bend) and lift back up to continue. Keep the legs as straight as possible to stretch out the hamstrings. This is also beneficial for balancing the upper and lower chakras, as well as the central meridian line. 2 minutes.
Step 4:
Come into rock pose. Clasp the hands together and rest them on the top of your head. Keeping the spine upright, begin to draw circles with the torso. This releases toxins from our cells (which is important because cell toxins often constrict blood flow). 1 minute.
Step 5:
Still kneeling, place your palms on the cheeks with the Venus Mound of the thumb pushing up under the cheekbones. Apply enough pressure to distort the face and make speaking difficult. Purse the lips and ‘drink’ your inhale in (as though slurping a long drink). Exhale powerfully through the nose. 2 minutes.
Step 6:
Sit in a comfortable easy pose (cross legged) and continue the same breathing pattern from step 5. Bringing your hands to the knees, allow your torso to bend towards one side, then come back through center and bend towards the other side. Inhale one side – exhale the other. Try to bend as deeply as possible. 2 minutes.
Step 7:
Relax on your back, arms at your side, palms facing up. Relax & drift off to sleep 11 minutes.

Self-Care Breathing Kriya: helps to reduce stress quickly and effectively

  • Sit comfortably in a meditation pose (either in a chair with feet flat on the floor, or crossed legged on the floor). Ensure your spine is straight and the crown of your head is reaching skyward.
  • Open the mouth and form a small circle – slightly bigger than if you were about to whistle.
  • Place left hand over your heart center, then right hand on top of left.
  • Close your eyes and breathe a steady, powerful inhale and exhale through the mouth (this is known as Cannon Breath), while focusing your awareness on the area under your palms.
  • Continue for 5 minutes.
  • To end, inhale and suspend the breath.
  • Relax the mouth and mentally repeat “I am beautiful, I am innocent, I am innocent, I am beautiful.”***
  • Exhale through the nose.
  • Repeat this breath suspension and affirming mantra 5 times.

Self-care is so vitally important to all of us. Think about how you could achieve a higher level of self-care in your daily routine to reduce your stress. Remember – the most important person in your life is YOU. If you aren’t ok, then how can you be ok for your friends, family, work and all the other wonderfulness in your life?!

***Beautiful:

  • dazzling
  • delightful
  • fascinating
  • gorgeous
  • lovely
  • superb
  • wonderfulness
  • radiant
  • foxy

***Innocent:

  • good
  • honest
  • authentic
  • fresh
  • well-intentioned
  • trustworthy
  • true
  • valuable
  • whole


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Yoga In The Park/Framingham Common

Dear Friends,
I have partnered with Downtown Framingham, Inc. to bring yoga (with a little bit of flamenco) to the Framingham Common this summer. This weekly series runs from Saturday June 2nd- Saturday September 8th.
 
 
 
Hope to see you there! 
Classes are fully accessible and inclusive.
¡Olé Namaste!
Eve
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DFI is proud to announce our summer-long yoga series! Each Saturday morning from 10-11 a.m. a yoga class will be held on the Downtown Common. Each week a different local instructor will lead the group through poses and breathing exercises to help you feel calm for the whole weekend. Join us! Tickets or season passes can be purchased on Eventbrite (see links and schedule below). $5/class; $60/season pass (Children 12 & under, free)

If the weather is not suitable for classes to be held outside, they will be relocated to the upstairs gallery at Amazing Things Arts Center at 160 Hollis Street.

Schedule

Select the date you would like to attend to purchase tickets.

Click here to purchase a $60 season pass

June 2
Amy Moses

June 9
Samela St. Pierre

June 16
Eve Costarelli

June 23
Meghan Margarette

June 30
Eve Costarelli

July 7
Amy Moses

July 14
Samela St. Pierre

July 21
Meghan Margarette

July 28
Meghan Margarette

August 4
Amy Moses

August 11
Samela St Pierre

August 18
Meghan Margarette

August 25
Meghan Margarette

September 1
Amy Moses

September 8
Meghan Margarette


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Boston Voyager Magazine: Today we’d like to introduce you to Eve Costarelli.

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So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a beautiful yellow brick Victorian in Brookline, MA. Our home was an artist’s home, filled with the artwork of my mother Amelia Robin, a paper sculptor, ceramic artist and water-colorist extraordinaire plus our childhood art and countless other pieces of art covered and filled every space. Although not encouraged at first to do so, it felt natural for me to follow my mother into the arts, although it took me years to discover my form of expression. I always loved to dance and mover, yet I never attended dance classes as a child instead I spent every Saturday from 9AM-4PM taking art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts and attending classical music concerts, operas and theater. But I never stopped moving. I filled every waking moment with energy. I learned to dance by watching Soul train on Saturday mornings; was stopped on the dance floor and told I was the best dancer ever; I became the Go-Go dancer for Manray, the alternative nightclub in Central Square, Cambridge, MA but my first foray into dance classes didn’t come until after college when my mother decided I should learn to tap dance. She bought me some tap shoes and paid for classes. My luck to stumble in Leon Collin’s Tap dancers Paradise. I was hooked. Tap dance became my it. My mom then compelled me to go to Harvard Summer Dance Program to study choreography and through a woman I met there, I discovered flamenco. Flamenco became my it. After having my son, I found yoga. And keeping up with my MO, Yoga became my it. This self-focused exploration is truly my passion. Through yoga I was opened to new motivations as a dancer, yogi and educator. I use flamenco and yoga as mindful moment forms from which EveryBody can access their true nature to reveal to them their inner strength, determination and courage.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the most difficult parts of my career has been maintaining enough students and external projects to make a living. It is hard to make art a profession, because there is no one’s steps you can follow in. No job that is already created for you to step into. No promise that your art will pay your bills. Being an artist has meant for me forging a new path and then creating the opportunities in which I have been able to hone my skills, create my art and learn, learn, learn. I have had the absolute joy of spending over 20 years bring dance to the Boston the community but I have had a lot of sleepless nights stressing over creating the right balance of my art as a career and as a creative expression.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Always Be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Everybody – what should we know?
There are three main aspects to what I do and then a whole lot on the periphery.

Firstly, through my collaboration with Open Spirit Center’s program, Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms, I bring yoga and mindfulness into the Framingham Public Schools My program, Always be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body, integrates into K-12 classrooms age appropriate mindfulness strategies using breath-work, movements and adapted practices so that even the resistant students have access to the mindfulness education. Through worksheets, small group discussions and other various practices that I have developed, students learn to identity their emotions, feelings and intentions and become aware of the ways in which they conduct themselves, all by becoming more aware of themselves. Not only do I work with students, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD, emotionally developing, the Gay Student Alliances, youth with trauma and those who have had limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE), but I also bring my classes and workshops to the teachers and staff though various Professional Development Days, after-school programs and retreats,

Secondly, through my collaboration with Hoops and Homework, an after-school program for some of the neediest youth in Framingham. I go to their two sites weekly to bring yoga, mindfulness and the arts to these kids who would not normally have access to them and I have developed a training manual to accompany my programming that I hope to get published soon.

That’s not all. Thirdly is my all-inclusive flamenco dance program ¡Olé Flamenco! which brings flamenco to youth without access or with limited access to the arts, including underprivileged populations, ASD, SPD, Orthopedic Impairment and developmental and Intellectual disabilities. I use flamenco to stimulate the whole child by using movement and expression as access points for a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging environment. This type of learning exposes children to the creation of art forms, cultivates self-expression (whether of an individual or a collective) and demonstrates a successful mixing of diverse populations-lesson which are relevant for youth in today’s society.

And one last thing…I am a budding author. I started writing book reviews about 5 years ago to hone my writing skills in preparation to write several children’s books. I hope to make a good query, get an agent and be on my way to become a celebrated author! One must always have dreams and keep on learning. Be your own soul’s light.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Well it is teacher appreciation week 2018, so here goes: my tap dance teachers at Leon Collins: Julia Boynton, Josh Hilberman, Jimmy “Sir Slyde” Mitchell, Diane Walker & Sue Ronson, who believed in my ability and my vision as a dancer. My flamenco teachers: Ramon de los Reyes, Omayra Amaya & more recently, La Lupi, for opening up the secrets to flamenco for me; for my yoga teachers Barbara Benagh, Elizabeth Goranson and Guruatma Ji, in their own special ways, helping me discover me and allowing me to find my true voice. And most recently, Debbie Clark & Rosanne Kates from Open Spirit Center for helping to open doors for me; through them I connected with Herb Chasen & Pam Kaufman of Hoops & Homework and also Cheryl Aglio-Girelli & Mynette Shifman, the teen health nurses at Framingham High School.

My husband, Rob Costarelli, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, has been behind me 100% since day one-we are truly a power couple! My son, Anthony, my brothers Andrew & William and countless of families who have entrusted me with their children over the years. My “girls”…I have never lacked form cheerleaders and believers.

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Book Review by Eve: Pancho Bandito and the Amarillo Armadillo Written by Mike Sundy; Illustrated by Jonathan Sundy

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Well right off the bat, let me say, I love anything armadillo. They have to be the coolest animal on the planet! They are literally present-day dinosaurs and are the only mammal with a built in suit of armor. They can hold their breath for up to 6 minutes and the 3-banded one can roll up arm3in a ball to protect itself from predators. They are also coolly adaptive creatures as they have minimal vision and hearing but they have a great sense of smell. They are my spirit animal!

The Sundy Brothers are a dynamic duo! This epic cowboy tale, written by Mike Sundy, is accompanied by the adorable illustrations of his brother, Jonathan Sundy and together these two pack a punch. With the resounding moral of the story being “what seems insurmountable is not” brought together with a giant sized bandito and an equally giant sized amarillo armadillo throw in some spicy hot Hatch chiles, a true southwestern staple, and a generous dose of humor and you have a highly entertaining story for children and their families. I love that the rhyme scheme is peppered with Spanish words. This delightful book has gripping action scenes, teaches about the importance of friendship, is multicultural and promotes diversity. One more thing, when reading out loud, it must be read with a drawling cowboy accent! Too funny! This book will definitely put a smile on your face and I promise, your mouth will be watering thinking of those vinegary, spicy peppers!

I highly recommend this book. Kid and grown ups will love it and it can be read again and again. The pictures are adorable. I love each emotive glance, whether human or animal!

How will I use this book?

This is a great book to use when teaching kids about the differences between the Fight or Flight stress reaction and the Relaxation Response. The F/F stress response occurs naturally when stress is perceived and it is designed to protect us from bodily harm.

The Relaxation Response is a accessible and beneficial way to turn off F/F stress response and bring the body back to pre-stress levels. Unlike the F/F stress response, the Relaxation Response must be practiced as it is not a natural occurring reaction to a situation. The beauty of it is, though, that the more you practice it, the stronger your ability is to calm down after stress. The RR can be initiated by deep breathing, yoga, visualizations, and other calming modalities.

Stress comes from how we perceive things. We need the Fight or Flight stress response in situations when stress is real, like when a tiger walks into the room. You need to decide whether to fight or run away, and your body needs to be ready to act-fast! But what happens if you expect a tiger to walk in and you get all stressed out and anxious, your sweating, your heart is beating fast, maybe you get a headache or your stomach gets upset and then in walks a kitten. No stress at all but your body is ready to fight or flight. Now you need to calm down fast! Take some deep breaths. Bring your heart rate, your blood pressure and your energy down. Try not to predetermine that a tiger is going to walk in every time. Let life unfold and allow it to happen. Your Fight or Flight stress response will be there when you need it, but you do not always need it.

Full disclosure: The author sent me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


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(Coloring) Book Review by Eve: Angry Octopus: Color Me Happy, Color Me Calm: A Self-Help Kid’s Coloring Book for Overcoming Anxiety, Anger, Worry and Stress by Lori Lite

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This coloring book is full of positive affirmations and fun pictures to color.

Each 2-page layout has a great advice bubble and an accompanying picture to color. The pictures are all very emotive and capture the essence of the affirmations perfectly. The pictures are simple, allowing each one to be finished in a sitting, which is very satisfying. The flow of the lines is very pleasant and they add to the overall calming effect of the book.

Each page of this delightful book offers a mini-mindful moment including a progressive muscle relaxation script, yoga, visualization, a bubble thought exercise and gratitude pages along with a variety of other ways to connect mindfulness to your senses, functions, emotions, and activities such as dance, listening to music and exercise.

The book itself allows for lots of space to breathe and to express yourself creatively. I love how it touches on so many ways to experience mindfulness. This book offers both young and old coping skills to help calm anxiety and bring about peace of mind. Coloring is proven to be a great calming activity and is a great way for families to enjoy some quiet together time. I highly recommend this book for families, therapists, yoga classes (which is what I will be using it for) and for anyone else who wants to access their creativity and share calming strategies with children.

How I will use this book:

IMG_7627In my yoga/mindful movement classes, I love to offer many avenues to my students to absorb coping skills. This book will come in super handy when I need an activity that passively activates the still quiet place inside where peace abides and anxiety is dissipated.