Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


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Book Reviews by Eve: Rent Party Jazz by William Miller & The Happiest Tree, a Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami

IMG_9067Book Reviews by Eve: Two books from Lee & Low that promote mindfulness, building self-esteem and diversity are Rent Party Jazz by William Miller & The Happiest Tree, a Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami.

Rent Party Jazz by William Miller is a story, above all, about struggle, responsibility, hope and community. The great brush-stroke illustrations by Charlotte Riley-Webb create movement giving life to the scenes of New Orleans, to the people and to the trains of music pulsing through the city. You can practically feel the music bringing them all together, giving the reader a sense of belonging in the story too. I really appreciate the beautiful color palette and how the party scenes are so lively and colorful, contrasting against the darker, more somber tones of the street.IMG_9065

This story is both culturally significant and historically accurate. Rent parties are used to raise money, are a way for budding musicians to get off the ground and a selfless way to hold space for those in need. I highly recommend this book-it might inspire a blossoming philanthropist or a child with a heart of jazz.

IMG_9066The Happiest Tree, a Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami is a story that encourages interest, bolsters determination and increases self-reflection. Through yoga, it shows how it is empowering and uplifting to challenge oneself. The main character, Meena, starts off with a weak sense of self and fearing rejection, but through acts of self-challenge, she emerges with inner strength and a strong self-esteem. The sweet illustrations by Ruth Jeyaveeran, show great expressions of interest, happiness, doubt and support that really highlight the emotional content of the story. I love the peppering of authentic Indian phrases throughout the story, making it culturally relevant and inviting. I highly recommend this endearing story of self-realization and inner peace.

Thank you to Lee & Low for sending me copies of these books. All opinions are my own.


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Book Review by Eve: Storytime Yoga by Sydney Solis

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I was delighted to receive this cornucopia of items from Storytime Yoga‘s creator Sydney Solis. After reading her bio, I can safely say that Ms. Solis has created a yoga program that is full of love, dedication and the amazing art of story telling!  She is truly one of the pioneers of the art form and I can hear her rallying cry of “We can get kids moving using story telling, vivid imagery and movement.” Without a doubt, Ms. Solis embraces “educate the whole child!”

  1. The original Storytime Yoga” Teaching Yoga to Children Through Story (Book) was one of the first books I ever bought as I began my own yoga journey. The book includes sample stories that are ancient tales brought to life with yoga movement and a “moral”. You can follow these examples, but I feel the main object of the book is to give the freedom to you to use your own stories, to find your own voice.
  2. With The Treasure in Your Heart: Yoga Stories for Peaceful Children (Book), Ms. Solis’ passion for bringing the teaching of yoga into her lessons is in full swing. This book is very user friendly and very spiritual. The story of her life she shares at the beginning, is such an honest and open introduction to who she is, that you cannot be but pulled in. Her mission is clear “to educate children in yoga through story by offering them tools for mental and physical health” which she obviously embraces fully. This books includes a nice collection of photographs of children doing the yoga poses.
  3. Peace, for the Children: Yoga, Story, Dance and Mantra Music for Children (CD) uses story, music and mantra. Through the telling of multicultural teaching tales, these story songs develop focus, inner peace and creativity. The rhythms, the repetition,the movements and the affirmations through mantra together are an all encompassing balance of body, mind and spirit. Some of my favorites were:a. Breath It In= Cool and jazzy!

    b. The Nursery Rhyme Body Jam=good giggle song and a good dance song. Make up moves for a repetitive sequence to create a moving meditation.

    c. The Golden Fish=love the steel drum, island vibe.

    d. The Skelton’s Ball (especially the Spanish version, Chumba La Chumba) So much fun to sing along!

  4. The Peddler’s Dream: Yoga with a story about following your heart (DVD) The story is very nice and I love the connecting the yoga pose as they help you embody the lesson from the story. This also includes a lovely guided meditation for the end of the yoga lesson. It is very relaxing, especially for young children who are usually very squirmy.

This is a very accessible program, making it great for both practitioners and non-practitioners of yoga to use. Personally, I have found the teachings from the two books to be an invaluable addition to my own teachings. I have used the wisdom of the story teller in many situations. Thank you Ms. Solis! Deep gratitude! I highly recommend Storytime Yoga. Go forth and give yoga!

Thank you to the Sydney Solis for sending me this amazing bundle! All opinions are my own.