Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz

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Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz; Illustrated by Jose D. Medina

I love the sweet green child and the doe-eyed crow. They make a beautiful couple creating art together. The child is kind-hearted and helps the hurt crow, who in turn brings joy and wonderment to the boy. This is a creative page turner that will elicit many giggles and ooh’s and aah’s.

Thank you to Penny Candy Books for sending me this book as part of a giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Meditation: Getting Started

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How does one start to meditate? I started meditating about 5 years ago. I wanted to start before that but just never sat down on my own and meditated. When I started, I had little knowledge of “how-to” meditate. I thought you needed to sit absolutely still, in total silence and think of nothing. Yeah….you can guess how well that went.

But overtime, it seemed to take hook. I was never sure if I was meditating correctly and often felt I was not doing it right or well, but I stuck at it and it stuck to me. First, I found that I needed to meditate in the morning, because if I waited until later in the day, it did not get done. So every morning, after I made breakfast for my son, I would sit on the other sofa and meditate…listening to him munch his bagel and gulp his milk. I felt like a pro! Look at me sitting here, not moving, blocking out the sounds around me….but I still felt like I was not doing it right and it was not “affecting” or “effecting” me correctly.  But I stuck to it. And it stuck to me. It was oddly satisfying and if I did not do it, I felt like I was missing something that I wanted. My brain wanted it. My body wanted it. My soul wanted it.

Enter Kundalini. In Kundalini, everything is organized and makes sense. The exercises have aim and purpose and are felt physically, mentally and energetically. There are physical movements or stillness encased by specific breathing patterns, chants and mudras. This allows for the seeing, the hearing and the sensing of of what’s happening  within minutes of starting a practice. The truth is in the doing. Here form really follow function. Kundlini fits all bodies, all sizes, all adaptations without getting lost in the “what my body should look like” thoughts. 

Also, Kundlini is a gold mine when it comes to varied meditations. Kundalini offers metal, physical and emotional distractions that ope the gateway for meditation that is wholly enjoyable and accessible. 

     Two Meditations to Start Your Journey:

                            Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. If you can do only one meditation, this is it. It will readjust and align you to bring balance into your body, mind and spirit and thus your life. It is your teacher. It is your best friend. 

The bottom line is that this meditation works. All you have to do is do it. You can trust the process and the technology.

Directions:

Sit with a straight spine. Bring your mental focus to the brow point/3rd eye point.

Chant SA TA NA MA.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.

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SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure.
TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together.
NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together.
MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together.

The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity.

The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

The Mercury/Pinky finger aids clear communication.

Visualize or feel each individual sound come in the crown chakra at the top of the head, down through the middle of the head and out to infinity through the third eye. This is very important and must be done with each sound. It is an essential part of the cleansing process. If this part of the meditation is not done, you may experience a headache.

While doing the meditation, you may experience pictures of the past come up like on a movie screen in your mind. Let them dance in front of your eyes and release them with the mantra. This is part of the cleansing of the subconscious mind. If emotions come up, you can also incorporate them in the chanting, i.e. if you feel anger then chant out the anger. Whatever you experience is OK. Do not try to avoid or control your experiences. Simply be with what is going on and go through it. It is all part of the cleansing process.

** Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.

                                          Morning Meditation

6 minutes version:

  • 1 min out-loud
  • 1 min whisper
  • 2 min in-head (can add tongue movements) with hand movements
  • 1 min whisper
  • 1 min out-loud.

This meditation can be done for 6-31 minutes. Just keep all the segments equal length (the silent section is repeated twice). It can really be done for as little as 3 minutes (30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 30 sec, 30 sec)

31 minute version:

  • 5 min out loud
  • 5 min whisper
  • 10 min in-head (tongue moving) with hand movement
  • 5 min whisper
  • 5 min out-loud
  • [1 min listen inside, hear the mantra, experience it. No hand movements.]

                                        Evening Meditation

                                      Sa Ta Na Ma Variation

3-30 minutes

Rest hands in lap. Fingers interlaced with the pads of the thumbs pressing into each other

Rest eyes gently looking at tip of nose; eyes may close.

Sniff in 4-counts, mentally saying Sa-Ta-Na-Ma.

Hold breath while mentally repeating the mantra 4 times.

Breath out through the nose in two strokes while mentally chanting Wahe/Guru. (Wahe/Wow! + Guru/Inner teacher = Cheers to my inner super hero!)

To end: Breath in for the count of 4. Hold breath for the count of 7. Breathe out through a circle mouth, making a whooshing sound, for the count of 8. Repeat 4-8x.

                                          Practice Timing:

3 minutes: Affects your circulation, blood chemistry and stability of the blood. The increased blood circulations begins, distributing enhanced neuroendocrine secretions throughout the body.

7 minutes: Brain patterns start to shift from the static of beta waves, to calmer alpha waves and ultimately to deep relaxing delta waves. Simultaneously, the magnetic force surrounding the body increases in strength.

11 minutes: The pituitary gland, glandular system and the nerves start to learn and change. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems begin to accommodate the increased energy.

22 minutes: Anxiety producing thoughts in the subconscious begin to clear. Your three minds (negative, positive, and neutral) start to work together so your mental integration changes. 22 is the infinite number of longing and gives mastery of the mental realm.

31 minutes: Affects your whole mind and your aura. Endocrinological balance is achieved, as is balance of the chakra’s of the ethereal body. This balance persists throughout the day, and is reflected by changes in moods and behavior.

                                            Amount of days: 

11 days: 11 is the number of Infinity in the material world and conqueror of the physical realm. So it’s like the first step to break loose from the entanglement of the mind.

40 days: Helps to break negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the Kriya or mantra, if done 40 days straight in a row

90 days: When you practice the Kriya or mantra for 90 days straight it will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious mind. It will change you in a very deep way.

120 days: When you commit to practice the Kriya or mantra for 120 days without skipping a day it will confirm the new habit of consciousness. The positive benefits of the Kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.

1000 days: This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the Kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Massive Candlewick Press, Childen’s Book Reviews Roundup! Yeehaw!

 

Alphabet Street by Ingela P. Arrhenius Ages 2-5

This pop-up book is so creative and will inspire hours of play and learning. The book is full of fun and quirky rhymes that take the reader through the shops and to meet the people on Alphabet Street,  all the while leaning the letters and sounds along the way. But that’s not all! This book also folds out and includes a beautifully illustrated play scene on the reverse of the shops and will inspire hours of imaginative play. I can see getting lost in the dreamy pastel artwork by the author and illustrator, Ingela P. Arrhenius. This is a wonderful ABC book and would make a great gift for a budding reader!

Jon Klassen’s Hat Box. Boxed set of Picture Books Ages 4-8

This is a beautiful boxed presentation of the wry and though invoking Hat stories by Jon Klassen. The books included are: I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat, and a print of that scruffy bear, rabbit and the sought after hat. The engaging watercolor illustrations are enough to tell the story. It’s all in the subtle expressions and side-eyed glances. Each page builds up to the surprise, ending and the wry expressions of the characters add to the slightly racy humor. These are intricately crafted stories of cause and effect and fit in along side Aesop’s Fables. They each have something to teach. There is nothing wrong with a book that does not tie itself up with a pretty bow at the end. Some stories are sassy and these are some of the best! This would make a great gift for the holidays!

Inside Outside written and illustrated by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui Ages 4-8

Wordlessly this beautiful picture book leads the reader into worlds large and small to bolster creative imagination. Within each two page spread, the reader is drawn narrowly into and widely out of scenarios where they might become a spelunker, a dog inside a doghouse or even a chick inside an egg. These unique perspectives will surely lead to interesting questions from curious kids and can offer great prompts for story telling, creative writing and afternoon day dreams. I love this concept and so appreciate the accessibility of a picture book that can expand to satisfy a larger audience: young, old, those who can read and those who cannot. Wonderful!

Mr. Scruff by Simon James Junior Library Guild Ages 3-7

This adorable book about people and their pets will grab attention with its fun rhymes and super charming ink & watercolor illustrations that will definitely elicit giggles. What is really special about this book is its compassionate story of diversity, acceptance and love. Kindness for animals, understanding that our choices have a resounding affect and that love is what makes the world go round. I highly recommend this heart-warming, heart-felt story.

Just Because by Mac Barnett Ages 4-8

This book is childlike satire at its best of the traditional bedtime avoidance rituals. Just before the lights can out, the fathomless quesions about life commencnse. Isabelle Arsenaults beautifully illustratoes each of the dad’s creative responses with gouche, pencil & watercolor illustrated 2-page spread of dream-scapes including flying fish, dinosaurs floating in space and mice blowing bubbles, all done with gorgeous muted tones that lend to the feel of nighttime and the slowly closing eyes of the sleepy child. This is a really cute bedtime book that will have you running to look up the real answers to these age old questions because curious minds will want to know! I highly recommend it! The expressions of the dog are priceless!

Paper World Planet Earth Illustrated by Bomboland  Ages 8-12

Paper-cutting is the art of cutting paper and this book takes this laser-cut multi-dimensional art-form deep into the earth’s core. I just love the creative use of vivid colors to create dimension, texture, and shadow that literally jump off each 2-page spread. Along with its in-depth scientific teachings, this book creates a sense of wonder.  On top of the already multi-layered aspect of the pages, there are flaps and die-cuts that offer more in-depth information about this big beautiful planet we call home. This truly one-of-a-kind book will appeal to readers of all ages and will bolster the curiosity of budding scientists, environmentalists and highly curious people!

Playlist: The Rebels & Revolutionaries of Sound by James Rhodes Ages 12+

Right off the bat, with the gorgeously colorful marbled paper-art end-pages, you know this book is going to be engaging. This book is a multi-sensory treat exciting not just the eyes and mind but also the ears and the whole body. By including a Spotify play-list, your senses get an extra jolt by adding the emotional quality that only music can bring. Through music, the whole being is able to experience these “original” rock stars of classical music, a genre often overlooked when considering the basis of current music. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are hip!
The back stories plus the ties to current day movies, and music offer just enough information to entice even the most stubborn “pop” fan into appreciating the inspiring stories of these great composers. I was motivated to find the full tracks of the songs and really listen to these amazing pieces that helped shaped every piece of music and ring tone we hear today.

This is a great gift book and would look especially awesome on a coffee table or for your favorite band teacher! The collage, silkscreen & digital illustrations by Martin O’Neill are really well done and are very exciting and add a lot to the text. Each one could become a framed piece of art!  

Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker Ages 5-8

Wonderfully informative! This creative non-fiction picture book opens up the underground world by taking the reader from deep in the underground city of Montreal to the subways of Tokyo to burrows of prairie dog and mole rats. This book will inspire curiosity and a realization that what is on the surface is just that and that there are many hidden gems that go into life on this an amazing planet. Sam Brewster intricately details each 2-page spread page with pop-open doors, windows and crevices to give an ever deeper peek into the teeming underground life. I highly recommend this book. It will excite and instill the desire for the young reader to know about our planet helping to create budding scientists, archaeologists, architects and highly interested and engaged people. 


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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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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: 30 Books To Help Kids Learn About Empathy:

 

 

  1. Arnie and The New Kid Nancy Carlson
  2. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
  3. Come With Me by Molly McGhee
  4. The Day War Came by Nicola Davies
  5. Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal
  6. Good Light Wind by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Maelle Doliveux
  7. Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose
  8. How To Be A Lion by Ed Vere
  9. I Am Enough by Grace Byers
  10. I Am Human by Susan Verde
  11. I Can Do Hard Things by Gabi Garcia
  12. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
  13. Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love
  14. The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
  15. Listening With My Heart by Gabi Garcia
  16. Look Up by Jung Juin-Ho
  17. Lovely by Jess Hong
  18. Mindfully Me 3-Pack (Mindfully Me Series: It’s Always There; Where Is Happy; Look Who’s Here) by Louise Shanagher and Rose Finerty
  19. Most People by Michael Leannah
  20. My Heart by Corinna Luyken
  21. My Mouth Is A Volcano by Julia Cook
  22. No One Else Like You by Siska Goeminne
  23. One by Kathryn Otoshi
  24. Pass It On by Sophy Henn
  25. The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
  26. Smallest Girl In The Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
  27. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
  28. We Are All Wonders R. J. Palacio
  29. Why Am I Me by Paige Britt
  30. Yo! Yes! By Chris Rascka


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Healthy Coping Colouring Book And Journal: Creative Activities to Help Manage Stress, Anxiety and Other Big Feelings by Pooky Knightsmith + Emily Hamilton

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I absolutely love this book. It This fun book about “me” full of coloring pages and journal prompts for mid-graders had me feeling good from the very first page. I felt compelled to jump right in and start coloring and answering the questions, digging deeper into me. The activities are very well thought out and have a great flow throughout the book. There are structured activities to follow plus lots of open-ended contemplations, perfect for deep thought and perfect to tie into a yoga program. It is very creative and cute but not cutesy. It’s a serious book presented in a highly engaging manner and so accessible for mid-graders though adults to enjoy. This book would make a great gift idea; tie it in with a nice set of colored pencils for the budding teen in your life!

I highly recommend it!

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Build Self-Esteem, Manage Stress and Reduce Anxiety in Children by Lori Lite

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Ahead of receiving this book, I had the awesome chance to talk to Lori and found her to be a kind-hearted, open-minded person. This book is absolutely chock full of wonderful, creative and easy to use ideas, techniques, and strategies to reduce stress in your life and in that of your any children you come in contact with. That is for sure her main point: you have to put on your air mask first in order to help those around you. Relaxation is a skill that you need to practice in order to master and by sharing personal stories, answering parent generated questions and other varied techniques, such as affirmations and meditation, this book will empower you on your journey to a stress-free life. I was especially inspired by her chapter on bringing these techniques into schools and know that I will use many of her tips to help the sites that I work with. This is an excellent book for parents and teachers, anyone who works with kids.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Jessica Kingsley Publishing Wrap-Up

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The Go Yogi! Card Set: 50 Everyday Yoga Poses for Calm, Happy, Healthy Kids by Emma Hughes, illustrated by John Smisson

This is a very sweet, simple set of cards that offer a nice diverse range of characters and each card has an easy how-to-do-the-pose on the back.

One thing I really liked about the cards was the inclusion of the Sanskrit name for each pose, along with the made up English name. I really liked this because it extends the diversity of yoga past the new inception of yoga, into the ancient and historical and shares this ancient language and opens up dialogue for the deeper teachings of yoga, not just the poses, which is especially helpful when teaching teens. IMG_2129

Included with the cards is a booklet with some ideas on how to use the cards and jumping off points for more creative adaptation. These are a great addition to my teaching practice and my students really like them. Ms. Hughes and Mr. Smisson have successfully teamed up before in two books the promote mindfulness and yoga for children: Striker, Slow Down and Go Yogi! (book). These cards make a great complement to those books.

Six Healing Sounds: Qi Gong For Children With Lisa & Ted by Lisa Spillane

I love Qi gong! Qi gong is an ancient Chinese art of movement and breath meant to balance the body’s energy (the qi, chi or prana) in order to achieve optimal health and well-being. This book introduces children to the benefits of qi gong by helping them to connect their feelings and bodily sensations to their inner voice. Through varied exercises including connecting to self-love, resonating sounds, visualizations and affirmations, this book helps children purge themselves of negative emotions and ways of thinking and to replace them with more healthy thoughts to create a more vibrant, radiant, self-assured and calm persona.

A special shout out to for the cute, expressive illustrations. They are simple and child- like but are also richly detailed. I loved the creative mixed-media collaging effect of real objects blended with drawings.

This is a great book for infusing children’s lives with mindfulness and positive social- emotional strategies. I highly recommend it!

Yoga Girls Club: Do Yoga, Make Art, Be You by Tiffani Bryant

This is a great book for teens or those teaching teens. It is highly interactive and focuses on listening to your inner voice. There are nice descriptions of postures and plenty of activity pages that include art ideas, writing prompts and body, mind, soul activities to help sort out emotions, feelings and bodily sensations and to promote mindfulness. The black and white illustrations invite you to color them to add a splash of color to this very informative and easy to use yoga manual.

Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishing for sending me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.