The subtitle is “Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” – I’m tempted to suggest this is the burden of our time but, I suspect, it’s been mankind’s lot for many a century even if our modern society tends to exacerbate it. Anyway increasingly we have the tools to understand and turnaround our dis-ease.
Sometime the obvious cognitive strategies we may employ to overcome daily obstacles – “this isn’t logical” “snap out of it” don’t work any more, if indeed they did ever, and we find ourselves in a shallow or deepening rut – maybe known as dysthymia – long term low mood – or a more stark depression (in medical terms, Major Depressive Disorder). As an aside here, if you are in the middle of a place of great sadness, get professional help – although not a long term solution there is much that medication can do short term. Mindfulness offers a different approach to being with the feelings, and changing the landscape – that’s what this book is about.
“You cannot force the mind. And if you try to, you won’t like what become if it.”
So we realise we have to learn to recognise our thought patterns, befriend them, and change their direction. Not an easy task, and one we maybe cultivate over a lifetime. The starting point maybe the breath, it maybe sensations in the body, it maybe movement of the body – in this book the authors work through an eight week programme – body sensations, breath, mindful yoga, mindful awareness, mindfulness of breath and body, mindfulness of sounds, mindful action. It sounds a lot, but every journey starts with a footstep.
“If our mind wonders 100 times during a period of formal practice, then we simply, and good naturedly, bring it back 100 times.”
These are tried and tested paths, and ones which will be familiar to many yoga practitioners. In some respects there’s nothing novel about them. Yet sometimes we need to be held and guided in these simple practices – when we falter we need the wisdom of others – through a class, through a book like this – to hold space for us and suggest the route. This book will do just that.
It’s a book for practitioners; for the weary; a resource for teachers. The authors are experts in the field, and write in an accessible way, although for me, and me personally, not as concise as I would otherwise prefer – yet at 230 pages it’s hardly a long book.
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