Always Be Dancing

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


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Angry Octopus: A Relaxation Story by Lori Lite

Angry Octopus: A Relaxation Story by Lori Lite

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This is a very well-crafted relaxation story that takes you, step-by-step, through active progressive muscular relaxation meditation.  The story pays special attention to bringing attention to feelings and sensations and it highlights important concepts such as self-reflection, body awareness and cooperation. This is a great book to read aloud to your own children as well as any children you have the opportunity to read to! It makes a great addition to a yoga class or a bedtime ritual and school teachers could use it to help their students relax. The sea creatures are adorable and I love the brightly colored palette and the blurred background lends to the feeling of being under the sea. This book pairs perfectly with Angry Octopus: Color Me Happy, Color Me Calm by Lori Lite (see my review here). Together, they pack a power punch and are great books to help children to enjoy being calm and aware.

 

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: I Have My Baby, My Baby Has Me by Josh Mortensen

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: I Have My Baby, My Baby Has Me by Josh Mortensen; Art by Carol Gisler

Right off the bat, I was taken with the beautiful watercolors. The artist, Carol Gisler, pays incredible attention to the details of the natural world with her color palette, brushwork and loving touch and the over-palette of blue and green is extremely  soothing and relaxing. The written prose flow effortlessly and are very inventive. I love the choice of words and how they play with each other, creating soft, sing-song poetry as you read aloud. Your child will be enchanted by the beautiful words and the gorgeous illustrations.

Congratulations! This is a lovely book! I highly recommend it. I just included it in my latest blog post: 19 Books About Mindfulness for Kids, 2 Activity Books and a Deck of Cards, too. (http (colon slash slash) bit (dot) ly/2HXKKxB)

Thank you to Magpie Children’s Books for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

 


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19 Books About Mindfulness for Kids, 2 Activity Books and a Deck of Cards, too


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: A Therapeutic Treasure Deck of Sentence Completion and Feelings Cards by Dr. Karen Treisman

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These cards are so engaging and fun and so very useful! I have been using them all month during my “I Am…” unit in my youth yoga and mindfulness classes. The pictures are easily associated with the sentence completion and feeling cards and are great visual cues, making the deck usable with the very young as well as those with special needs. The accompanying booklet is great and offers practical usages for the cards that also allow for a lot of creativity.

The other day in my yoga class (the kids run in age from 5-18), we first went through all the feelings cards and the kids offered up some of their own. I then handed out the more difficult, stronger feelings cards and each child pantomimed the feeling while the rest of the class guessed at what it was. We then played a game of opposites and each child chose a yoga pose that made them feel the opposite of their feeling card (i.e. hurt: choose a pose that makes you feel safe; surprised: choose a yoga pose that makes you feel calm…). We of course played this round robin, so every few minutes I signaled that is was time to switch mats and so round we went making up roughly 20 poses each that helped us to feel safe, calm and in-control of our feelings. To top it off, I set my phones alarm to gently ring every 11 minutes and when it did ring, we all had to stop everything we were doing and do a 5-finger breathing exercises. There was so much fun and play between the laughter and the silence throughout the class. Namaste!!

I highly recommend this deck as an aide for therapy as well as for yoga teachers, classrooms, homes…they are great conversation starters! These cards are excellent for opening up communication all about “I Am….”

Thank you to JK Publishing for sending me this deck. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: Everyday Kundalini: Yoga, Meditation, Mantras and Breathing to Empower and Transform Your Life by Kathryn McCusker

 

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I knew this was going to be a great book from the get-go as I have been bit by the Kundalini bug and am hungering for knowledge. This book does a great job of hitting on the main points of Kundalini from the history to the subtle body to the therapeutic benefits and offers up a variety of meditations with easy to follow directions accompanied by clear pictures.

I was most inspired by the Sodarshan Chakra Kriya and have committed to a 40 day journey with it. I am starting a little lighter than the author (I am starting with an 11 minute version) but I was immediately drawn to the power of this meditation and after a little online research, I had the tools to begin.

This is book is a great kick off to the understanding of the amazing power of Kundalini yoga. It is a great addition to my personal yoga and mindfulness library and I highly recommend it. It will be a great companion to my expanding Kundalini practice.

Videos by Kathryn McCusker:

What is Kundalini?

What are the benefits of Kundalini?

Everyday Kundalini: Meditation to release anger

Thank you to Watkins Wisdom for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

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Today, I read Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick) in my kids yoga classes today. The children range from age 2 1/2-almost 6 and one of their favorite activities is the Calming Rock meditation time. Each child gets a pile of colored glass rocks: some large and flat, some chunky, some blue, some green, some clear, some red, orange and yellow. They know that once the quiet music goes on, it is time to settle down and take on quiet bodies, mouths and minds. It is time to let their imaginations free and make designs or pictures or just enjoy the beautiful colors and textures of their rocks. After a full class practicing the skills of movement and stillness, I brought the rocks out, turned on some quiet music and the kids settled into the routine. I told them that I would be reading them a story and that some of the pages had words and pictures and some of the pages were only pictures. I explained that I would hold the book up and they had the choice to just listen, or they could look up and see the pictures as I would quietly alert them if the page had no words so they could see the pictures as I moved them slowly by.

I told them it was a story about mermaids and we immediately got into a discussion of other things that live in the sea and about the water and the waves. We decided our rocks reminded us of the ocean and we imagined a wave rolling in and messing up the sand beneath and then calming so the water becomes clear again. I started reading the beautiful simple prose and loved the peppering of a few Spanish words such as abuela grandmother mijo my dear; this is very endearing and has a feeling of love and safety. The children calmly listened to me and played with their rocks, and most eyes lifted as I passed the book by. I would watch their eyes take in the sequences of pictures and the special look that would come into their eyes when they got the story. To say I love this book is not enough. The message is one of hope, acceptance and authenticity and is accessible to the very young as well as the old. I am meeting with a local GSA today at a middle school and this book will be part of their yoga/mindfulness class as well. I cannot recommend this book enough. It should be in every school, every library, every home. It is a beautifully crafted message of love and the illustrations are fantastically expressive. This is a home run for this debut author-illustrator.

Even with young children as young as this, discussions happened around accepting other languages styles, choices, ways of being; accepting ourselves and that each individual person is really the only one who knows themselves and for them to nurture and love their inner self (of course I used a fun analogy of a tiny them inside themselves driving around them around like a giant ship.) I explained that even when that ship goes to school or is at home or is with friends, that the inner core them was always the same and they could feel safe, strong and grounded in that knowledge of who they really are. I was able to tell them that their really is a Mermaid Parade that happens in New York where everyone dresses like mermaids and parades together to the sea. https://www.coneyisland.com/programs/mermaid-parade

This book is about:

#acceptance #consciousness #diversity #character #love #courage #compassion #pride #empathy #support #lovingkindness #freetobeyou #freetobeme #freetobe #instalove #inclusion #strength #culture #community #comunidad #equality #mermaid #mermaidparade #coneyisland #Iam #satnam #authenticity #individuality


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Winston Wallaby Can’t Stop Bouncing: what to do about hyperactivity in children including those with ADHA, SPD and ASD by K.I. Al-Ghani and Joy Beaney

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Another great book from author K.I Al-Ghani (this time with Joy Beaney) and illustrated by Haitham Al-Ghani. Right off the bat, I was taken with the boldly outlined cartoon-like images that are presented in a frame-by-frame format. This is so effective and the drawings are so expressive that words are not even needed. Also, I think it is really fun that the main character is a wallaby!

The overlying message of this book is that it is OK to be you and that inclusion is cool. The book makes what many people think of as not the norm, the norm, and that acceptance is the way to go. I love that. There are so many effective, adaptive ideas offered in the book to help those with ADHD/SPD/ASD find peace, a way to express themselves that others can hear and for others to be open-eared, compassionate and friendly. This is a great book. Everyone should read it and share it. Above all our differences, we are all the same, humans,  with a right to live our lives as we are. Be caring! Be kind! Be creative! That’s cool!