Always Be Dancing

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


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: City by Ingela P. Arrhenius

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This book is not only coffee table worthy, it could actually be a coffee table-just add legs! I love everything about this giant-sized, hardcover picture book that is full of awesome, fun illustrations accompanied by big, bold words in varied, unique fonts. Each poster-sized page is full of delightful city attractions, richly detailed with endearing characters. This is a truly whimsical celebration of city life that will be poured over for hours-and-hours.

This book would make a perfect gift for the holidays (Can’t deny the super “wow factor” of its size) and for every day. I absolutely love the gorgeous illustrations and fancy fonts!

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¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book.

For more information about my accessible mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com.

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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: 10 Horse Farm by Robert Sabuda

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I am utterly in love with these intricate paper horses that literally jump off of the pages of this sweet pop-up book. Each 2-page layout has an action word that is accompanied by a gorgeously crafted pop-up horse along with a host of other farm animals and implements. The words are simple but imagination can run on-and-on within the frames. The final layout is the farm in full where each of the previously noted horses is depicted, adding a fun i-Spy element to the book.

I highly recommend this book. It is the perfect gift for the holidays and every day. This is a great book that stimulates creative thought and offers hours and hours of imaginative play.

Click here to see a Youtube video of the beautiful pop-ups!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

For more information about my accessible mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation For Kids & Mindful Me Activity Book by Whitney Stewart

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Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation For Kids & Mindful Me Activity Book by Whitney Stewart; pictures by Stacy Peterson

This dynamic duo of mindfulness books for the mid-grade reader is the perfect gateway into understanding mindfulness and is just jam-packed with short & simple mindful activities, such as meditation, yoga, short self-focused quizzes and journaling to help the young discover the joys and benefits of mindfulness. The book, Mindful Me, is written in a really nice, kind voice as if a good friend is talking to you; it just makes sense for the the preteen mind. I also really appreciate the the book keeps adults (grown-up figures the youth can turn to) present and reminds the youth to reach out to these adults for help. I would also add that the book is great or teens and adults as well and could easily be incorporated into a yoga program or a classroom to bring up topics and activities to increase mindfulness. The accompanying activity book follows along , highlighting the activities in the book. I really love the little notebook feel and the graph paper background. It just begs to be filled in! The activities bolster creativity while bringing the focus to the present moment. I really enjoyed the thoughtful question & answer sections that are written with maturity for the growing mind but are light enough to not be overwhelming. This book-duo is an awesome addition to the mindfulness for kids book and fills a much needed niche for the preteen reader. I highly recommend them both-they would make a great gift!

Thank you to Whitney Stewart for sending me copies of these books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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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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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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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.

 


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Two Wonderful Books By Gabi Garcia

 

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Listening To My Body by Gabi Garcia is a really nice, effective book to aid children in understanding about sensations and feelings and how these things interact to better help them navigate understanding their own needs. The book is written with compassion and obvious desire to help kids tune in and trust themselves. There are great short noticing activities throughout and I really like the recap word list at the end for a visual reminder of the sensations and feelings brought up by the story. The noticing activities are also listed for easy access. A special shout out to Ying Hui Tan for her adorable illustrations. The characters are sweet and they clearly express the content of the book. The art is textural and creative and very endearing.

 

Listening With My Heart: A Story Of Kindness And Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia shares the messages of awareness, self -respect and friendliness, using positive self talk within a story that empowers you to being true to yourself. The spirit of the book is openhearted and generous and the illustrations are super adorable. The message is clear-be compassionate and kind to yourself so that you can reach past yourself and extend the kindness to others. The illustrator, Ying Hui Tan, has really developed her style and palette. The children’s wide-eyed expressive faces display great emotion and work in beautiful unison with the words. I love the layering effects and the wide use of texture. The back of the book has some wonderful kindness activities. All around, this is simply a lovely book! 

 

I highly recommend these books. They make great read aloud’s to share with children, students, parents and teachers. These books should be in libraries, classrooms and homes!

Full Disclosure: The author sent me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.