What We're Reading
Books and Articles to Help You Revitalize.
We share what we are currently reading and why we recommend you consider reading these, too. In this post we review books and articles that support you in deepening your well of resilience: The Breathing Book, Embers and 6 Tips for a Mindful Exercise Routine.
What Nancy Is Reading:
Twenty years ago, I would never have given The Breathing Book a second glance. I was too impatient to give time and energy to mindful breathing (and indeed proud of that frenetic energy). Naturally, I would’ve greatly benefitted from giving myself the odd moment to becoming mindful. It wasn’t until I became a yoga instructor that I recognized the damage I did to my poor body and mind. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start breathing in a healthy way.
Farhi breaks down the physical mechanics of breathing that merely keeps us alive versus breathing that lets us thrive. The anatomy "lessons" are interspersed with breathing exercises. I find myself often putting down the book to perform them—satisfying two of my resilience components (cognitive and physical) as I read.
Here’s a tidbit that hit home for me:
I grew up with the instruction to hold my stomach in all the time—and it makes sense, right? A strong core is a good thing, right? Nope. As with all else, a natural rhythm is where we thrive. By holding the core in constant contraction, we actually weaken the abdominal muscles! For muscles to strengthen, they need to completely relax between contractions. Further, holding the belly pressed up against the spine weakens the spinal muscles as well--a common source of lower back pain. Allowing for full movement of the breath, we keep our spine healthy.
I gave this book a relatively quick read-through, but I come back to it as a kind of mindful breathing "check-in" either via the text or the exercises.
What Nancy is Writing:
Physical Exercise Beyond Pain/Gain Myth by Nancy Chenier
Inspired by the Physical/Earth component for boosting resilience as we touched upon during the Revitalize Retreat, I wrote a blog post over on my yogajourney108 website about getting beyond the "no pain, no gain" mindset for exercise and reintroducing joy to physical movement.
What Delaney Is Reading:
Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations, by Richard Wagamese
I love this little book of stillness and reverence that I found in the BC Ferries floating bookshop. Or rather, this book found me. It fell off the shelf and onto my chest. A sure sign if ever there is one that I'm meant to bring a book into my life. This book is so beautiful, Richard's words so full of hard-found grace, that when I need reminding of my own grace, I can re-find my centre by turning to these pages.
During the Revitalize retreat this winter we explored being at choice in how we attune to our body’s needs for renewal. Mindfully setting intentions to balance our ceaseless energy output with quality energy input - making choices that provide rest, recovery and renewal - will ensure our wells of resilience remain full and we can lead with grace, compassion and engaged energy.
Sometimes Creator blinks. Sometimes
She is not looking at me. Those instances can feel
really, really long some days, but what’s going on
is that Creator is showing Her trust in me. She’s
letting me know that I have the tools to cope with
things, that I’ve learned enough in my walk with
Her to walk gracefully through those moments
when she blinks. And that’s when I should blink,
too. Close my eyes and breathe, feel the unceasing
current underneath everything, surrender to it,
then open my eyes again to possibility and walk
on. That’s how I learn to be graceful. Full of grace.
In the blink of an eye.
6 Tips For A Mindful Exercise Routine, by Alan Brady
One way to support yourself in energy renewal is to ensure you move your body to build your strength and endurance. But, how often do we make exercise a chore, or a mindless habit?
On our theme of The Joy of Moving Your Body, here is a short article from the Chopra Centre blog suggesting that adding a dash of mindfulness to your fitness can harness the power of joy. Practicing mindful exercise is also a terrific way to strengthen your mindfulness ‘muscle’ and bolster your cognitive capacity. Brady outlines tips to merge awareness and physical exercise together as one, thus allowing you to experience the present moment during your physical activity. He also suggests some great types of exercise that are well suited for this.