Meet the Singing Dragon Author: Nicola Harvey

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Nicola Harvey, author of Mindful Little Yogis

How did you become interested in mindfulness for children? Were there any challenges in breaking into this field?
During my time as a special needs class teacher I was surprised at the social pressures and academic demands placed on children from as young as 4 years old to conform. I saw first-hand how this triggered anxieties and other mental states in children. With less public funding in place, many children have reduced access to the much-needed support they require in schools and communities so I decided to undertake additional training to integrate mindfulness, emotional resilience and coping strategies into my classroom routines. Over time, this helped my students gain better access to the curriculum, learn how to communicate their feelings, develop self-regulation tools and achieve mental clarity.
Continue reading

What the Hell Just Happened?! – An Extract from Richy K. Chandler

Talking about his latest picture book, What the Hell Just Happened?!, Richy K. Chandler said the book came from “a place of needing to try to make sense of where I was in my life”, adding: “At the start of developing it, I was going through a difficult separation, with my life circumstances drastically changing, seemingly out of control. I sought the release and comfort of expressing myself through creativity.”

Scroll down to see an exclusive extract from What the Hell Just Happened?!, or click here to read the full story behind the creation of the book, as told by Richy himself.

Continue reading

How narrative influenced form in What the Hell Just Happened?!

 

For National Stress Awareness Day 2018, Richy K. Chandler shares the story behind his latest picture book, What the Hell Just Happened?!. This inspirational gift book helps readers overcome troubling times in their lives, through vivid illustrations and positive affirmations.

The author provides thoughtful tips to remind us of what we can be at our emotionally strongest and smartest, showing how to face the past and embrace the future.

 

There are many reasons for creating a book, a comic or any work of art.

My latest book – What the Hell Just Happened?! – came from a place of needing to try to make sense of where I was in my life. At the start of developing it, I was going through a difficult separation, with my life circumstances drastically changing, seemingly out of control. I sought the release and comfort of expressing myself through creativity.

My assumption was that my anxiety and fear would come out naturally in tune. I’ve written hundreds of songs in the past and I always feel better for clarifying my feelings in verse. This time, however, that didn’t seem to be happening.

Continue reading

Marina Cantacuzino on the background of ‘Forgiveness is Really Strange’

by Marina Cantacuzino

Writing a book with a co-author, warned my writer friends, is often a clash of egos and can be fraught with problems, especially if your co-author happens to be a friend!  Mine was, and so I embarked on writing Forgiveness is Really Strange with a degree of trepidation over a collaboration that for no one’s fault might simply not work out.

 

I first met Dr Masi Noor in 2008 because of his academic research on the psychology of forgiveness in contexts of past or on-going political violence.  He was interested in The Forgiveness Project, the charity that I founded in 2004 which promotes restorative narratives in order to help break cycles of conflict and vengeance.  A collaboration in creating The Forgiveness Toolbox followed as we discovered our views on forgiveness were very much in sync – that it should never be pushed or prescribed, that it was complicated and easily misunderstood, but also that it was a skill that could be practised and learned in order to help liberate people from the debilitating power of victimhood.

Continue reading

Letting Go of Stress

Practical Zen for Health, Wealth and Mindfulness by Julian Daizan Skinner and Sarah Bladen is the new follow up to Practical Zen, which presents simple meditation techniques to help achieve health, wellbeing and success. We have an extract from the book, in which you can learn what stress is, how you can change your response to stress and how Zen meditation and mindfulness can reduce stress.

 

Click here to read the extract

 

Read more about the book, or buy a copy here.

 

If you would like to read more articles like this and hear the latest news and offers on our books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer, and please also tell us about your areas of interest so we can send the most relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.


You may also be interested in…

Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond

Using a system established by the ancestors of the Rinzai tradition of Zen, this book presents specific meditation practices in a practical and engaging way that will enable readers to live a grounded, strong, energetic life.

Click here to read more about the book.

Challenging Stress, Burnout and Rust-Out: Finding Balance in Busy Lives Extract

Are the holiday’s amping up the stress in your already busy professional life? A balanced lifestyle enhances health, happiness and wellbeing. This practical resource provides professionals with techniques to achieve all of the above. Challenging Stress, Burnout and Rust-Out explores how balance can be found and how stress and anxiety, which are linked to being overworked and over busy, may be alleviated.

Read an extract of Clouston-Challenging-Stress-Burnout-and-Rust-Out-Ch-5-PRESS.pdf

For more information on Challenging Stress, Burnout and Rust, please visit our website.

The Presence of Peace: Breathing Calmly Amidst Holiday Stress

Julie Dunlop, author of Ocean of Yoga: Meditations on Yoga and Ayurveda for Balance, Awareness, and Well-Being shares tips on breathing calmly amidst holiday stress.

Are you one of those people who tries to “get through” the holidays? What would it take for you to shift to “moving through” the holidays or “experiencing” the holidays rather than just trying to get through them? Although the difference in this wording is somewhat subtle, it can be significant as we shift from survival mode into a more holistic acceptance of the process of being present—mind, body, and soul—for the holidays.The glow of Christmas trees, menorahs, and Diwali candles, along with many other images and traditions from richly diverse cultures, light our way through the holidays each year. Along with the beauty of holiday decorations and celebrations, however, often comes a fair amount of stress. This could be financial stress or the stress of physical exhaustion from simply trying to keep up with all of the extra events. It could also be emotional stress due to an injury or illness, challenging family dynamics, or grief from the loss of a loved one. Pause for a moment and check in: On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your current stress level? Breathe. Look around you. Then, look within. Is there any crisis taking place in the current moment, or is the stress generating from within? Feel the soft rhythm of your inhale and exhale washing through you with grace.

Continue reading

A Tip for Practicing Meditation to Improve Physical and Mental Wellbeing

The below video tip is taken from Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond by Julian Daizan Skinner, Foreword by Shinzan Miyamae

Using a system established by the ancestors of the Rinzai tradition of Zen, Practical Zen presents specific meditation practices in a practical and engaging way that will enable readers to live a grounded, strong, energetic life:

To learn more about Practical Zen, visit our website.

 

How can therapists use trauma-sensitive yoga with their clients?

In the second part of our Q&A with Dagmar Härle, she discusses how therapists can use trauma-sensitive yoga with their clients, and how to adapt their style of working with someone who has experienced trauma. You can read part one of the Q&A here

 

Why is it important that yoga teachers and therapists have an awareness of what positions might be potentially triggering for someone who has experienced any form of trauma?

Using yoga in the beginning of the process, we want to offer resources and foster self-efficacy and self-esteem. Offering postures with legs wide open like in happy baby where we lay on our back, holding the toes in our hands or buttocks unprotected like in a downward facing dog, for sexual traumatized people we have to be aware that those asanas can trigger. But avoiding these poses in the long-term doesn`t solve or heal because the patient cannot make new experiences like “I now can tolerate poses I couldn`t weeks ago”.

 

Holding people in their comfort zone ultimately doesn’t help them, or let them develop. It’s a matter of timing. Offer “safe” and easy asanas (always being aware that we don`t know what triggers may be) in the beginning and start to open up while the person makes good experiences and gains resources.

 

How important is flexibility or creativity in teaching style when working with people with a history of trauma?

Offering choice needs creativity. Flexibility is needed when an asana or breathing technique triggers and you want to offer another possibility.

Continue reading

What effect does practising yoga have on emotional and stress responses?

In the first part of our Q&A with Dagmar Härle, she discusses her background as a therapist, and how those who have been affected by, or experienced trauma, can improve emotional and physical well-being by participating in ‘trauma-sensitive’ yoga. Click here to read part 2 of the Q&A.

 

What led you to become a yoga teacher and a trauma therapist? What inspired you to combine the two?

I practiced yoga for many years and eventually I wanted to learn more, and get a deeper understanding of yoga and its philosophy. Therefore, I completed first a kundalini and later a Hatha yoga teachers training course and began teaching yoga classes. It was a perfect combination and helped me to stay balanced and resilient in my work as a coach and therapist, and I learnt mindful tools that I could teach to my clients.

 

I started trauma therapy training about 15 years ago in somatic experiencing, as I had so many clients who suffered from various symptoms due to trauma (especially trauma beginning in childhood), and I realised that I needed tools to work with clients who had such experiences. My studies of psychotraumatology at the University of Zurich deepened my knowledge and experience of working with those with trauma, but still there was a missing piece. So many patients couldn’t tolerate trauma exposure – they either dissociated or reacted with overwhelming sensations and emotions.

 

Yoga is a perfect training for the nervous system because there exists calming as well as activating poses and breathing techniques, and it has become obvious to me that yoga is a perfect tool to support patients in self-awareness, self-efficacy and self-control. I started with mindful yoga groups for patients and then I eventually brought yoga into therapy. Going to the Trauma Center and learning from David Emerson and Jenn Turner the TCTSY (Trauma Sensitive Trauma Center Yoga),

I was reassured in my way of using choice as an important way of supporting self-control and self-efficacy to the patients. In practice, for instance, you can execute a side bend with both arms stretched or one arm stretched while the other arm may hang loose or you sit on a chair and bend forward putting your hands on your knees or you go deeper perhaps until your hands reach the floor. It`s always the choice and under control of the patient.

 

What effect does practising yoga have on emotional and stress responses?

Yoga offers asanas-postures as well as pranayama-breathing techniques to either calm down or activate the nervous system, or in other words, activate either the parasympathetic or the sympathetic branch of our nervous system. Understanding that trauma survivors suffer from both – overwhelming sensations and emotions (sympathetic branch) as well as dissociation and shut down (parasympathetic branch, or more exact, the dorsal vagal part of it) helps to let clients know that they can benefit from yoga because we can offer them the tools for both. Learning the tools to stop dissociation and to be able to handle overwhelming emotions and sensations has an important effect on self-efficiency and self-worth.

Continue reading