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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mindful Movements (Recommended Book): Ten Exercises for Well-Being
Mindful Movements centers on exercises developed by revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh as a break from sitting meditation.

Each movement is described very clearly in the text, but Dutch artist Wietske Vriezen deserves a lot of credit for making the book a success: her charming illustrations show people of different ages, ethnicities and body types practicing the movements. 

In addition to making the book more enjoyable, this means that every reader can see someone to identify with, and even very young children can “read” it themselves and do the movements. 

The accompanying DVD has a 15-minute session led by Thich Nhat Hanh himself, which is useful if you want to make sure you’re doing the movements correctly before demonstrating them to kids. 

Or go ahead and use it as a tension-busting routine of your own: I’ve started doing it in the evenings to get the kinks out after I’ve been hunched over the computer most of the day. By this point, I’ve memorized the ten movements, but watching the nuns and monks of Plum Village reminds me to SLOW DOWN rather than rushing through the routine. 

In other words, it’s important to be mindful when you’re doing the “ten mindful movements.” Some of them are more strenuous than they first appear, so go easy the first few times if you aren’t already limber. And you may need to make some adjustments depending on the state of your joints: for example, “the frog” involves a very deep squat that could be tough on the knees. 

That said, the “ten mindful movements” are great for developing flexibility and balance, and can be done in street clothes and with no equipment: Think of it as a standing yoga routine or vigorous form of tai chi. 

All in all, this is another great resource from Parallax Press, a nonprofit organization that publishes books on engaged Buddhism and the practice of mindfulness. 


related posts:

Is Your Mind Connected to Your Body? (quiz)

Little Flower Yoga for Kids (recommended book)

Online Yoga Resources for Every Body

Rainbow Walk: A Mindfulness Activity to Move the Body and Rest the Mind

Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children (recommended book)

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