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Katie’s Bookshelf: Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater

Living yoga“Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life” by Judith Hanson Lasater is the book for bringing Yoga off the mat with you.  Lasater has such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on all things yoga.  She breaks each chapter down to principles of Yoga such as courage, fear, suffering, empathy, love, truth, and many more.  While she connects each principle to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are other spiritual associations as well.

Each chapter makes understanding the principle accessible, connects it to real life situations, and includes suggestions on how to practice it as well as mantras to accompany the practice.

“Perhaps it means that we are, in every moment, to remember the whole, to remember the gift of life, to remember the preciousness of every second.  When we do this remembering, something shifts inside us.  When we do this remembering, we talk differently, we act differently, and we treat self and others differently.”

What I like about this book, is that you can read it cover to cover, or pick a chapter that resonates with where you are.  Each chapter is something that should be taken in slowly.  I find myself reading the chapters multiple times.  Lasater says that the last chapter on “Worship”(only in 2nd edition) is the best passage she has ever written.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book, I promise you won’t regret it.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Yogi and interested in how to carry the principles off the mat
  • You are interested in a more spiritual and compassionate life

Buy it Here

Lasater, J. H. (2015). Living your yoga: finding the spiritual in everyday life. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Katie’s Bookshelf: A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins


Symphony“A Symphony in the Brain” by Jim Robbins provides a history and background of Neurofeedback training.  He begins with more primitive research and experiments on the brain, to the first training sessions with cats and seizures, to how it looks today.  Robbins explains what Neurofeedback(sometimes referred to as Biofeedback) addresses in our brains, conditions it can help with, and what it actually does to train our brain.  He explores the evolution of the technology as well as the big players in the field.  He explores possible reasons it has not become as mainstream as other medical and mental health interventions and why it has not been adopted by the medical field.

Neurofeedback for those who have not experienced it, can seem “too good to be true” or more Science Fiction related.  Basically, Neurofeedback uses sensors placed on specific locations on the head, to read the electricity in the brain, provide “feedback” to the brain on this activity in the form of a game or movie screen, and then allows the brain to do with it what it wants to.  The brain responds by training itself to return to homeostasis and function the way it was meant to be before biology and life experiences interfered.  Neurofeedback has the ability to address many areas but the major ones are improved sleep, moods, attention, and pain management.  This technology has been featured in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score.

I was required to read this book before I attended training at the Othmer Clinic(EEG Info).  Since I was interested in learning how to provide the service myself as well as had trained my brain, I found this book to be interesting and helpful in understanding the evolution of the technology.  It could be quite dry and boring for those who are not providing Neurofeedback training.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Neurofeedback practioner
  • Interested in the history of Neurofeedback

Buy it Here

Robbins, J., & Recorded Books, Inc. (2014). A Symphony In The Brain: The Evolution Of The New Brain Wave Biofeedback. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

 

Katie’s Bookshelf: Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz

IfsIntroduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz covers the basics of the therapeutic model that works with our internal parts.  Schwartz developed the model to help us understand our inner workings better and as a way to “be curious” about all of our parts instead of judging and shaming.

This concept of “parts” is not new to any of us.  Oftentimes we say, “a part of me wants to go to work and be productive, and a part of me wants to stay in bed all day.”  Internally, we have these sometimes conflicting messages.  The book and model helps us identify our parts, determine their role as well as how they originated, and allows us to reconnect with our “Self.”  The parts that Schwartz describes are our “Exiles” which hold painful emotions; “Firefighters” who act in response to our exiles to “extinguish” and soothe those parts; and our “Managers” who protect us and try to exercise their control.  Lastly, we have our “Self” which is made up of who we are at our center and embodying calmness, connection, compassion, courage, curiosity, etc.

This book helps the reader in dipping their toes into this therapeutic model.  I am a strong supporter of those interested finding a therapist to help guide them with this process.  This book can be helpful for those beginning this work and wanting more knowledge and understanding.  The IFS model and information found in this book can be helpful in a variety of mental health areas as well as those who want to understand themselves better.

After reading this book, I am interested in going deeper with this model as it seems to make sense and fits in nicely with other mind and body work that I provide.

Read this book if:

  • You are a therapist interested in a quick and light introduction to the model
  • Your therapist is trained and using this model with you
  • You are interested in learning more about yourself and all of your parts

Buy it Here

Schwartz, R. C. (2001). Introduction to the internal family systems model. Oak Park, IL: Trailheads.

Lasater Yoga’s 21-Day Savasana Intensive – My thoughts

savasanaintensiveI recently completed Lasater Yoga’s 21-day Savasana Intensive.  Seems strange that Savasana(relaxation) and intensive can go in the same sentence huh?  Well THEY DO!  Savasana can be one of if not the most difficult poses in yoga.  “Why?  You just lie on the floor?”  Well yes.  That’s where the real work happens.  Not the outer body work that we are used to doing in a flow class.  It’s more about the inner work.  Savasana(or Relaxation Pose) is a place to land and notice.  Things will present themselves during this stillness; feelings, thoughts, sensations, the dreaded “judgement” word, etc.  In savasana, we can learn to sit through all of it without doing anything.  We are so used to “doing” that we forget about “being.”  Judith Hanson Lasater said during one of the audio recordings, “savasana prepares us for death.”  Whoa.  Sit with that for a minute.

Judith and her daughter, Lizzie lead the practitioner through 21-days of rest.  Each day has either an audio recording about the art of savasana, or a video tutorial on setting up.  A couple of days included guided meditation and breathwork to begin savasana.  The expectation is to listen or watch then practice savasana for 20-minutes.  You saw that I said “practice savasana” right?  This time on your mat shows up differently each day and can be challenging in different ways.  It is most certainly a practice.

I started this program in January and committed to practicing each day that I was at my office.  I am fortunate to have a very peaceful “Breathe” room that is perfect for just this.  I can confirm that I followed my plan.  Looking back, I wish I had practiced everyday to really see the effects.  The good news is that once you pay for the program, you have access to it forever.  I will practice everyday next go-around.

I learned throughout the practice how sacred rest really is.  I learned that I can take a break in the middle of the day for rest.  I learned that a “real” savasana is at least 10-minutes.  I learned new ways to set up savasana.  I learned breathing techniques to lead in to savasana.  I learned why savasana is so important.  I learned that I need rest.

 

Do this program if:

  • You would like to take your understanding of savasana deeper
  • You are a yoga teacher(you get 20 CE hours upon completion!)
  • You are a practitioner of yoga
  • You need rest