Always Be Dancing

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


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Stay Cool at School* by Lori Lite

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Stay Cool at School by Lori Lite*; Illustrated by Richard Watson

I love how mindfulness in schools is becoming the norm and that more and more teachers and school districts are interested in bringing mindfulness and self-help strategies into their school communities. In my opinion, the younger we can start this the better, as empowering our young children with strategies to deal with big emotions, can only be a win-win for the children themselves and the greater community at large.

Lori Lite is in the top of the tier of people offering easily accessible ways to bring mindfulness into the classroom. Her most recent book Stay Cool at School is an adorable and extremely important book for teachers of young children (ages 3-9) who want to help their students identify big emotions and offer them tools to cope. Since coping is a practice, the more this is encourages, the more likely the students will be able to access their wisdom at times of high emotions.

In the story, the two adorable dream monkeys, Jumpy & Sunny help the young child in the story to identify the big emotions experienced, from anger to over-excitement to embarrassment and joy. In each instance, they offer up various breathing strategies that anyone can do, without anyone else even noticing, to increase a sense of calm, self-control and to encourage a positive outlook. 

The illustrations are very cute and I love the fun color palette. The scenarios and emotions are well articulated and this book can be enjoyed over and over again.

I highly recommend this book to families and school communities alike. Libraries should have a section for mindfulness books specifically aimed at children. I know I am going to embrace this book and share it with the children I have the opportunity to work with through my children’s yoga program. Its fun and engaging nature make it an easy fit as a gateway into mindfulness for young children.

*A special note: Stay Cool at School is only available through Scholastic Book Clubs. Contact your child’s teacher for their order/login with the teacher’s information to their club and/or their 5 digit class code. More information here http://bit.ly/LLStayCool

For more information about Always Be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body, my mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit: alwaysbedancing(dot)wordpress(dot)com.

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Lori Lite for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions stated 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!


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: If It Does Not Grow Say No Eatable Activities for Kids by Kerry Alison Wekelo

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This is a fun healthy-eating workbook that pairs beautifully when teaching youth about healthy living and mindful eating. A classroom could incorporate the activities (easily adapted for various age groups) during healthy eating month. March is National Nutrition Month and September is National Breakfast month, but I found that there are a large variety of food related “holidays” every month. I am enamored with helping kids receive the information they need to make healthy choices and this is a great book to make the learning fun and meaningful.

I was really inspired by this book and found a couple of websites that would really fill in the information. I look forward to creating a great class to include in my youth yoga program. It is recommended for preschool and school-aged children but I can adapt all this information through teens. This book is great!

Here is a website dedicated to the book http://www.doesnotgrowsayno.com. It is absolutely chock-full of very useful information!

For even more information, check out eat right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month® Celebration Toolkit https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month-celebration-toolkit