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Mindful : August 2017
Most people feel awkward during their first yoga class. For Jessamyn Stanley, being the largest woman in the studio only compounded this. Fast forward a few years, and Stanley is an Instagram sensa- tion for chronicling how a “big, black, and beautiful African Queen” can be as yogic as the idealized (and grossly mislead- ing) representation portrayed in women’s magazines. With Every Body Yoga, Stanley, now a certified teacher, takes that a step fur ther. This Many of us have heard bits of the extraordinary story behind singer/song writer Jewel, who came to national attention in 1995 with the multiplatinum album Pieces of You: She was raised on an Alaskan homestead, and spent her childhood singing in bars with the family band before she left home at 15. When she was discov- ered in a San Diego coffeehouse four years later, she was living out of her car. In Never Broken, she unflinchingly relays the whole tale: the remarkable but unstable upbringing, poverty and struggling to fit with other kids, putting herself through performing arts high school, homelessness, sudden fame, heartbreaking betrayal, and redefining herself as an artist again and again. It’s a real page- turner. But what’s particularly interesting is the revelation that she relied on mindfulness to help her through. Of course, back then she didn’t call it mind- fulness. No one did. But, realizing she was on her way to being “a statistic,” as she says, she began crafting a lifeline—reading physics and philosophy; and using meditation, visualization, gratitude, and journaling to watch and question her thoughts and choose where to direct them. It’s the goal of writing this book, and the website she launched with it, she says, to share these practices with anyone who needs them, particularly young people who are struggling. “If they can help you to get where you are going in less time and with less pain than it took me, then this book will have been worth writing,” she shares. “This is an invitation to question your life and, should you desire, to find the courage to erase the lines that imprison you and to reimagine a better you,” she writes. “ Be the architect of your dreams.” NEVER BROKEN Songs are Only Half the Story Jewel • Blue Rider book—a solid mixture of pose and sequencing instruction, introduction to the histor y and philosophy of the practice, and beginner’s tips to help you feel slightly less awkward when you start out—also tells Stanley’s story of how falling in love with yoga helped her fall in love with herself. Not only is this an inspiration for anyone who has ever felt dif- ferent or has struggled with self-image, it’s an absolute testament to what yoga, at its core, is really all about. EVERY BODY YOGA Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body Jessamyn Stanley • Workman Fierce Kindness is an uplifting mash-up of mindfulness skills and “positive thinking” power statements (“Turn a problem into a possibility;” “Be bold and bloom”) that feel a bit like they came off a Lululemon bag. While there’s no deep learning in Fierce Kindness, there is much to like. Author Melanie Salvatore-August, a yoga teacher (and Lululemon ambassador), is earnest in her “fierce” desire to remind us that we have say over how we interact with the world. And she provides some nice tips to help shift your focus, take mindful moments throughout your day, and investigate your thoughts with curiosity and kindness. FIERCE KINDNESS Be a Positive Force for Change Melanie Salvatore-August • Yellow Pear 80 mindful August 2017 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...download