Non Fiction Review: A Year of Mindfulness for Beginners

A Year of Mindfulness for Beginners by Lee Papa
A Year of Mindfulness for Beginners: Daily Mantras, Meditations, and Prompts
by Lee Papa (Goodreads Author)

2 out of 5 stars


This book includes inspirational quotes from famous people like Nikola Tesla and Eleanor Roosevelt. I really loved these interesting quotes from a wide variety of people!

Most of the meditation prompts and guidance in this book are innocent reminders to release stress, focus on what is important, believe in yourself, and allow yourself to relax. But sometimes there will be a weird one that made me wonder about the underlying philosophy that is being taught in this book. It is very focused on self, and talks about an “Eternal Consciousness”. There is an entire chapter about interpreting your dreams that sounded completely idiotic to me.

There is a lot of talk about “creating your own reality” and other strange ideas. (Reality is reality. You can change your perception of it or how you think about it, but what is real is real. You don’t create it. It just is.) While reading, I would just try to enjoy the normal meditations and mindfulness prompts, and skip over the weird ones.
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Non Fiction Review: Essential Pranayama

Essential Pranayama by Jerry Givens
Essential Pranayama: Breathing Techniques for Balance, Healing, and Peace
by Jerry Givens

4 out of 5 stars


This book goes in-depth about the energy centers of the body and how the breath can move and create energy, soothing and refreshing the body. There are instructions for different types of breathing rhythms, and different postures for sitting or lying down as you meditate and breathe. I love how many details and explanations there are about different aspects of the breathe and lungs.

There are breathing exercises to try, with clear instructions and a list of benefits. There are exercises for an energizing breath, or for a calming breath. Some of my favorites are included like Alternate Nostril Breathing, Buzzing Bee Breath, and Ocean (Ujayi) Breath. There are breathing techniques for mental clarity, stress relief, and for better sleep through calming and cooling breathing. Continue reading

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