So I recently signed up for NetGalley to expand my reading horizons and try out genres that I don’t generally think to check in my local bookstore. This was something that caught my eye because I love yoga. I practice several times a day and it’s one something I come to for a variety of reasons. To stretch after a days work, to breath through illness/asthma, to relax and have alone time, to meditate on my place in the universe and goals for the present and future, to cultivate a healthier body, stronger muscles, and of course, to rock some badass inversions and pretzel postures. But the point is that yoga is a deeply varied beast and each time you come to it, it is different and you are different. It’s much like picking a new book off your shelf in that the possibilities are endless in what you can find or learn, but you’re physical and mental state are just as relevant as the source material at hand. Earlier this year I found out that I’ve been suffering from bipolar disorder and while medication has been an important part of my recovery/journey to becoming a better self, yoga was one of the key things recommended to me to alleviate stress and improve my emotional and physical quality of life. I’d been doing yoga for years but that mental piece had thrown me for a loop for a long time and it’s only been in the past 8 months or so that I’ve started to really find my own inner peace and chill spot.
Which is why I’d like to say that this book is pretty much the how to guide of what it took me 8 months to figure out through trial and error. It’s pretty rad. I didn’t have any expectation picking it up, just a general sense that the topic was important to me, but I was refreshingly surprised at the insight, layout and forethought that went into this edition. Personally I can’t wait to purchase a copy in print. I’m not someone who ordinarily annotates my books, but I can definitely see myself doing the exercises in the margins and highlighting more of the meaningful phrases and practices.
The set up is one that I particularly enjoyed and while it encourages you to move around the chapter based on whatever suits you personally, each and every segment had useful, practical and inspiring things to guide you to come to a better mental place.
The chapters begin with a general paragraph about the general focus of that sections material, followed by some active paragraphs encouraging you to ask questions about what you’re dealing with whether external, emotional, etc. There are of course diagrams for yoga poses with descriptions of how you should come to those poses and the benefits physically for each. But the real heart of this tome are these broken down ideas, 4-8 per chapter, dealing with specific issues for you to address. Many of them are lists of ideas or preconceived notions that people have about themselves or their environment and after some discussion on what these mean for your daily life, there are questions and exercises, either deep breathing, guided meditation, journal entries or lists that you can examine for yourself in order to build your own personal guide of what’s freaking you out and what you can do to personally overcome it. It’s an honest to god self help book that actually hands you the tools to help yourself. It’s not wishy-washy and it’s not demanding, both of which get used frequently and can lead you feeling confused and stupid, or bullied and pissed. This book is like sitting down with your best friend, pouring all your crap out on the page or journal or just into your conscious mind and then taking your hands and saying why don’t you try this. Take your time and we’ll build you back up so that you can move past this and be better.
I absolutely love it.
With the smattering of technical knowledge and references, the diagrams for the poses and the chapter breakdowns, lists and general formatting this is something I’ll be recommending highly. In fact I’ll be giving the expected publication date and relevant information to my own doctors so that they will be able to add this to their recommendations for other patients like myself. A wonderful edition to the yoga and stress related literature. I’m absolutely thrilled that this exists and can’t wait to add it to my collection. If you suffer from any regular stress, or feel lost in the direction of your life and are looking to improve your quality of living, self confidence, inner peace or decrease world suck, I recommend getting your hands on a copy of this as soon as possible. The expected publication date is September of 2015, and this is definitely one to pick up and add to your life library. Even if you aren’t a yogi or interested in the physical applications of yoga.
Create a Personalized Holistic Plan to Balance Your Life
Robert Butera PhD, Erin Byron MA, Staffan Elgelid PhD
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.