Tag Archives: mind-body wellness

Katie’s Bookshelf: Go Wild by Richard Manning and John Ratey

Go wild“Go Wild; Eat Fat, Run Free, Be Social, and Follow Evolution’s Other Rules for Total Health and Well-Being” by Manning and Ratey uses the premise of going back to our “wild” nature to achieve more overall health.  They explore running and exercise, nutrition, sleep, nature, the brain, and our tribe as all areas to return to our roots.  They are not discouraging modern medicine or advancements, but do know there is some wisdom in our past as well as the absence of human conditions that have been on the rise in modern society.

Each chapter was divided by subject matter and provided scientific research, vignettes, as well as the author’s opinions.  Most of the chapters were accessible, easy to get through, and provided a new perspective on overall health and well-being.  Many of the suggestions were not earth shattering or new concepts to me.  It was appreciated to have these suggestions reinforced though.

The book ends with both of the author’s journeys on how they became passionate about returning to the wild and their own afflictions.  I don’t think it’s  a bad read and can help provide some useful information on better ways to conduct our lives.

Read this book if:

  • Interested in the overall approach to well-being

Buy it here.

Ratey, J. J., & Manning, R. (2014). Go wild: Eat fat, run free, be social, and follow evolutions other rules for total health and well-being. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Five Things We Cannot Change by David Richo

IMG_3027“The Five Things We Cannot Change…and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them” written by David Richo outlines the givens in life and how to live more with an “unconditional yes.”  His 5 givens are:

  1. Everything Changes and Ends
  2. Things Do Not Always Go According to Plan
  3. Life is Not Always Fair
  4. Pain is a Part of Life
  5. People are not Loving and Loyal All of the Time

Reread that list.  Wow.  Seems like a glass of cold water was thrown in your face huh?  We all know these things and have experienced them but for someone reason they are hard to accept.  We want the good experiences to last forever, we like to plan and know what is going to happen next, we want fairness, pain hurts, and we expect people to treat us well.  When these things happen, we suffer.  We will suffer less when we accept that these conditions are a part of life and happen to everyone.  No adult or any person of significant age is immune.Richo spends a chapter on each unpacking them.  He then moves into the refuges and gifts from the givens.

“Positive resourceful refuges are relationships, friendships, art, nature, music, creativity, career, entertainment, meditation, and the variety of non-hurtful ways we have of fulfilling our own deepest needs and wishes.”

The last section of the book focuses on the “unconditional yes;” how to become yes, yes to feelings, and a yes to who I am.  He does use spiritual references with a heavy emphasis on nature and Buddhism.Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and appreciated the simplicity of the givens of life he outlined as well as how to accept them with the least amount of suffering.

Read this book if:

  • You are an adult.

Buy it here

Richo, D. (2008). The five things we cannot change: And the happiness we find by embracing them. Boston: Shambhala.

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Alchemist“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is a short and sweet parable of a boy who sets out to find his “Personal Legend.”  He starts off as a sheep herder who is called to find treasure at the pyramids in Egypt.  He sets out on his journey and meets several different types of people along the way who all provide support and guidance for him discovering his Personal Legend.  The boy also runs into various conflicts along the way from thieves to war in the desert.  The boy learns throughout his adventures to listen to his heart, look for signs, trust the Universe, pursue his goals, and discover the treasure within.

“The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness.  And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy.  To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.  All things are one.  And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I’ve listened to this book as well as read it.  It’s a great quote-able and inspiring novel.  I liked how simple and profound it was.  It’s also a quick read.  It was originally written in 1988 by a Brazilian author but did not gain much traction.  It took until the late 90s and some celebrities seen with it before it really exploded.  Paulo Coehlo was interviewed on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Podcast here and here.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in an inspiring novel on achieving your dreams and finding purpose
  • You are a young adult setting off into the world

Buy it here.

Coelho, P. (2014). The Alchemist. London: HarperCollins.

Do Nothing: Restorative Yoga Self-Care

View More: http://cariannalynne.pass.us/katie-restorative-workshopWhat I am about to proclaim is radical; you have permission to do nothing.  Do nothing every month, every week, or every day. Go wild and do nothing every hour!  We all have so much to do at home, work, school, and all the places. There will always be something to do.  I promise that you will never get it all done during this lifetime. When we finish one to-do list, another waits right after.  Hitting the pause button in the midst of all the tasks and chaos is what really takes courage. What if we created stillness and silence?  How would that effect the tasks yet to be completed? Would we enter the next activity with more peace and mental clarity? Could it possibly give us energy to get through the rest of the day?

The topic of self-care has become popularized in the last few years.  What is it really? For me, self-care is carving out time and space for yourself without demands and expectations.  For self-care to really benefit us, it is vital to engage in it regularly. Sure, self-care can look like a caramel spice latte at Starbucks, a spa day, or a nice hot bath.  We can spend lots of money on self-care or none. I would like to propose a simple way to practice self-care that can be done virtually anywhere and has no cost(except time).

Judith Hanson Lasater defines Restorative Yoga as “the use of props to create positions of ease and comfort that facilitate relaxation and health.”  That to me sounds like a complete self-care practice. What could be more rejuvenating and compassionate than relaxing and spending time with yourself?  Restorative Yoga can be tremendously beneficial the first time you do it, however, the more consistent practice, the more return. You will notice relaxing quicker, going deeply inward, and more control over your mind.  It also teaches us to do less, move slower, and appreciate the silence. It is meditative in nature meaning that you will go completely inward; a time of introversion. Restorative Yoga looks easy physically but in fact is the hardest style of yoga.  Relaxing the body can be challenging for most of us. Once the body is still, we become aware of our thoughts and feelings that are with us all the time but we just aren’t aware of them. That is the difficult part.  However, if we don’t face our thoughts and feelings, they will find a way to come up; perhaps when you are trying to fall asleep.  Sitting with and witnessing all that arises with compassion is the ultimate self-care.

I suggest to start off small; practice one pose for just a few minutes every day.  Build on that once you feel you are ready. The longer the poses are held the more benefit you will get.  If you have a private space, dim the lights, create warmth, find silence and use what you have to put the body in a position that is conducive to rest.  If you are in a more public space, simply soften your gaze or close your eyes and be with your breath and the stillness. Invest in the props(blankets, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, sandbags, etc) only if you want to.  You can certainly use pillows, blankets, books, and hand towels as substitutes. If you have the ability, keep your space set up for rest all of the time; you will be more likely to do it if it’s there. Always set a timer so that you are not worrying about time or falling asleep.

A home practice is fabulous and can be so accessible.  Finding an experienced Restorative Yoga teacher, safe studio space, and a container to practice is invaluable.  Attending a yoga class creates community, connection, accountability, among other assets. Restorative Yoga tends to draw many when they need it.  Practicing consistently helps us avoid feeling like we need it as we will already have it in place and may be in a better space to handle the rollercoaster that is life.


Join Katie Overcash Rodgers, LCSW and RYT-200, at Noda Yoga every Thursday at 9:30am and Sunday at 5pm for a 75-minute Restorative Yoga class.  Restorative Yoga for Families is held at Innergy Works every Thursday at 4:30pm.  Katie has been a Mental Health Therapist for over 13 years and a Yoga Instructor for 2 years. Katie is an “Advance Trainer” under Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew© Program.

Simplify Your Practice

Savasana, the ending resting pose in most yoga classes, can conjure up all sorts of feelings. I would go as far to say that you either love it or hate it. How can one pose create such an emotional reaction? I would guess that those who hate it are challenged by the stillness and struggle with not “doing.” Maybe it’s just really hard to get comfortable on the floor, on your back. Perhaps the silence brings an awareness to your racing mind, and that is uncomfortable. I can also safely assume that those who love it, have developed that relationship over time. Those people understand that becoming aware of your racing mind, sensations in the body, and feelings that arise are just part of the package. It comes with the territory and it’s how we choose to meet all that arises is the difference.

Savasana is the most simple pose in any yoga practice but also the most complicated. All you are asked to do is lie on the floor and “be.” Be with your thoughts non-judgementally; be with sensations in the body without creating a story around them; be with any and all feelings that you notice; just be. You have no demands on you during this time. No errands to run, nobody asking you for anything, and no tasks.

If you embrace Savasana as a gift of the practice, I challenge you to stay longer, add more props for comfort and ease, and rest in it more frequently. Extend your time by just a few minutes each time you set yourself up; the longer the better. Commit to a regular practice of Savasana by keeping your props accessible, dedicating time in your daily schedule, and set a timer so that you have the boundary to go deeper.

If you are interested in a better relationship with Savasana, I challenge you to first, get really comfortable in your set up in the most quiet, peaceful place you can find. Set a timer for 5 minutes in the beginning and extend by a minute each time you commit to the practice. Cover yourself with a blanket and cover your eyes with an eye pillow or wash cloth if you are comfortable doing so. Meet all that you notice with compassion. You can choose to spend more time with it or you can choose to focus on the present which may include becoming aware of your breath. Consider it a refuge from life, a place to hit the “pause button.” Dedicate to a regular practice to gain the benefits of stillness and deep rest. I guarantee it will work wonders if you let it!

The fancy and beautiful poses are great. They make us feel powerful, balanced, and strong. Don’t get rid of your movement practice, it’s important too. I just ask you to simplify your practice, commit to doing less, and just be.

Join me Sunday, January 21, 2018 for a 2-hour workshop, “Advanced Savasana,” where we will explore 3 comfortable shapes as well as setting up a home practice, and enjoy a generous Savasana.

Katie Rodgers is a 200-hour registered Yoga Instructor who has trained extensively with Restorative Queen, Judith Hanson Lasater and combines Restorative Yoga with mental health talk therapy for overall mind-body well-being. Register at Noda Yoga.