Board Book Review: Let’s Make Yoga Magic

Let's Make Yoga Magic by Heather Leah
Let’s Make Yoga Magic
by Heather Leah, Sandie Sonke (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

This board book has interactive levers, wheels, and pop ups that help to teach children about different yoga poses. The text explains the pose in very simple terms, along with something for the child to imagine while they do the pose.

For example, in bridge pose you can imagine that a river is flowing underneath you and your legs and arms are the bridge across the water. Children can pretend to be a snake, a dog, a mountain, a butterfly, a dancer, a tree, a plane, a pretzel, a boat, a warrior, and a dragon! All of these correspond with the traditional yoga pose, and add an element of fun and awareness to the practice of yoga.

The text is told in rhyme and beautifully written!

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Non Fiction Review: Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga by Diane Paylor
Yin Yoga: Essential Poses and Sequences for Balanced Energy
by Diane Paylor

5 out of 5 stars

This book is divided into chapters for Yin and Yang poses (still or moving poses), with special chapters for rising energy, grounding, seasonal practices, and targeting specific areas of the body. It begins with an explanation of Yin yoga, how to harness the energy of your breathing, how yin yoga helps your ligaments and joints, and how to quiet the mind during yoga.

I really love that each pose comes with instructions for modifications and variations, so that the yogi can choose what feels best to them in the moment. There are also warnings for poses that could affect old injuries, or would not be appropriate for the elderly or for pregnant women, so that the reader can practice poses safely.

Each pose has clear instructions with options to use props like a bolster, blanket, yoga strap, or pillow. You can make the pose deeper if you are ready for more of a stretch, or you can make the pose easier if you want less pressure or intensity.
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Non Fiction Review: In Tune

In Tune by Richard Wolf
In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness
by Richard Wolf

2 out of 5 stars

This book teaches the reader how to meditate by focusing on the breath using techniques of listening and creativity that musicians also use.

As a professional pianist, I didn’t quite find what I expected in this book. I thought it would be a book about USING music as a way to meditate, but this is mostly about how music practice and meditation practice share the same techniques and characteristics. I guess I was looking for advice about meditating WHILE playing an instrument or listening to music, but the author advises meditating in complete silence.

The writing is clear and interesting, but verbose and repetitive. The writing style is beautifully lyrical, but quickly becomes tedious as each paragraph is overloaded with words.

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Non Fiction Review: Essential Chakra Yoga

Essential Chakra Yoga by Christina D'Arrigo
Essential Chakra Yoga: Poses to Balance, Heal, and Energize the Body and Mind
by Christina D’Arrigo

5 out of 5 stars

This book guides the reader through an incredible journey using yoga to balance the energy in the body known as chakras. The first chapters give an overview of the seven main chakras, and how they affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. Each chakra overview includes positive affirmations about the area of life that corresponds to that chakra, such as emotions for the heart chakra, or expressing yourself with the throat chakra.
Then there are yoga poses, illustrated with simple drawings, that activate and clear each chakra for a smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: A Seeker’s Guide to the Yoga Sutras

A Seeker's Guide to the Yoga Sutras by Ram Bhakt
A Seeker’s Guide to the Yoga Sutras: Modern Reflections on the Ancient Journey
by Ram Bhakt

4 out of 5 stars

This book teaches yoga philosophies and truths that will help the reader to slow down, stay calm, and find freedom. Each chapter features a modern translation of a sutra quote from the original Sanskrit, a few short paragraphs expanding on the teaching, and a meditation exercise or reflection for the reader to ponder.

I really like that this book is broken up into two page tidbits. It’s perfect for quick and thoughtful reading right before or after a yoga session, and then taking 5 minutes to meditate on the lesson or truth that is presented.
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Non-Fiction Review: Good Intentions

Good Intentions by Jasmine Tarkeshi
Good Intentions: A Guided Yoga Journal for a More Meaningful Practice
by Jasmine Tarkeshi

4 out of 5 stars

This guided journal begins each 3-page chapter with a few paragraphs on yoga sutras, philosophies of peace, or a proverb of wisdom for the reader to contemplate. Then the reader is encouraged to set an intention for their yoga practice to apply the wisdom to their own lives and reflect on their own spirit. And a few prompts are provided with a blank page where the reader can record their thoughts and introspection about the topic.

The first section of daily meditations focuses on tuning in to yourself and recognizing your own energy, and then there are sections for tapping into the observing witness within yourself, letting go of worries and embracing truth, practicing self-care and compassion, and finally extending grace to yourself and others.

I really liked how the meditations gradually take you deeper into a more positive mind-set, opening up your inner thoughts and providing healing. This is a great companion to a yoga practice! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Mindfulness Journal for Teens

The Mindfulness Journal for Teens by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA,...
The Mindfulness Journal for Teens: Prompts and Practices to Help You Stay Cool, Calm, and Present
by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA, LMFT

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This beautiful guided journal prompts the reader/writer to answer questions, contemplate quotes about peace and mindfulness, practice meditations, focus on the breath, embrace personal affirmations, and write down their thoughts.

The best thing about this book is the beautiful design and calming colors on each page. It makes me want to open the book and notice every little leaf and fruit design around the edges while I do the meditations.

The prompts begin with a simple noticing of your emotions, your body, and surroundings, and then move into more deep contemplations and journal instructions about your insecurities, your strengths and fears. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Practical Yoga Nidra

Practical Yoga Nidra by Scott Moore
Practical Yoga Nidra: A 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit
by Scott Moore

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book gives a step-by-step guide to beginning and deepening a Yoga Nidra practice. The first chapter talks about what Yoga Nidra is, and how it can improve your sleep, make you more aware, reduce stress, help you to cope with emotions, and heal your body. Then each chapter focuses on one aspect of Yoga Nidra, opening your awareness to different areas of your body, mind, and spirit.

Each chapter includes a short and a long meditation script that you can prerecord for yourself and then play it back while you meditate. You can choose to do the shorter 5-minute meditation, or the longer one. Meditations includes visualizing a happy and safe place, doing a mental scan of your body, listening to your emotions, observing and releasing your thoughts, focusing on the breath, and setting an intention for your well-being. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Restorative Yoga for Beginners

Restorative Yoga for Beginners by Julia Clarke
Restorative Yoga for Beginners: Gentle Poses for Relaxation and Healing
by Julia Clarke

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book begins with an explanation of the restorative yoga style, and how it affects the body, calms the mind, and provides stress relief. Then some general information with Do’s and Don’ts about props, clothing, and how much time a restorative yoga practice should take.

The second section of the book gives details and instructions on performing each individual yoga pose. Each pose is listed with the benefits of the pose, and precautions for the elderly, injured, or pregnant women. There are also suggested time limits to hold the pose, and lovely illustrations in calm pastel colors demonstrating the pose. Continue reading