Breath Hygiene: Keeping the Mind and Body Healthy Through COVID-19

Robin Rothenberg, author of Restoring Prana and forthcoming Svadhyaya Breath Journal: A Companion Workbook to Restoring Prana (June 2020), served for six years on the IAYT Accreditation Committee in addition to running a busy yoga therapy practice. Her yoga therapist training program was one of the first to be accredited by IAYT in 2014 and she has been a yoga therapist for over 20 years. You can find out more about Robin at Essential Yoga TherapyBelow she shares tips for keeping the mind and body healthy through COVID-19.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen numerous social media posts counseling people to stay calm and stay clean. In my experience, employing good breath hygiene is the most effective way to both remain grounded and support immune and respiratory health. The breath is our greatest inner resource and with a little breath education, you too can develop the capacity to settle yourself, even when fear is gnawing at your gut!  Initially, breath hygiene may feel unfamiliar or awkward (much like learning to wipe down everything you touch with disinfectant) but the more you work with it, the easier it gets.

Here are five valuable tips for how you can use the breath as a powerful BFF to enhance emotional regulation, while simultaneously giving your immune system a boost.

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A Free Book from Richy K. Chandler and Singing Dragon

During these troubling times, our mental health remains just as key as our physical well-being. Therefore, Singing Dragon is pleased to share the full contents of the latest book by Richy K. Chandler: What the Hell Just Happened?! Comfort and Wisdom for When Your World Falls Apart.

This inspirational book helps readers overcome troubling times in their lives through vivid illustrations and positive affirmations. The book shows how you can face your past and embrace your future, and provides thoughtful tips to remind you of what you can be at your emotionally strongest and smartest. Continue reading

How to Teach Yoga Therapeutically – Head to our Facebook Page Now!

Is Yoga Inclusive? Therapeutic? Meet the Teacher/ Therapist/ Educator/ Author

Charlotte Watts, Lisa Sanfilippo, and Lisa Kaley-Isley in discussion about the leading edges in yoga therapy and what that can mean for your work in the yoga room, one-to-one, or in terms of a thriving practice that is of service to others.

The panel will interactively discuss their evolution as yoga teachers and therapists, and how their paths have paralleled current developments in the field of yoga. Through personal and professional experience as teachers, educators, and authors, they will discuss how they have developed and articulated their own specialist focus working with conditions (sleep/insomnia, digestion, and mental health). They will cover how they view those as exacerbated by experience of stress and trauma and can be relieved or improved through adapted yoga practice.

Charlotte, Lisa and Lisa will discuss their very different pathways into yoga and yoga therapy, and how these different passions, educational backgrounds, personality types, skill sets and preferences have lead to different courses, publications, and ways of working with clients. From there, they will explore how developments in the field of yoga and the ways in which yogic wisdom is transmitted in the modern age might match the needs of the individual.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE LIVE PANEL EVENT NOW

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Not My Shame: Extract

To celebrate the release of Not My Shame by T.O. Walker, we are releasing an extract from the book – please click here to view it.

This striking graphic novel gives an insider’s view of the trauma caused by childhood sexual exploitation. It tackles complex issues, including victim-blaming, traumatic memory and dissociation, but is ultimately hopeful, showing how victims can be good parents and come to terms with their past through therapy, art and caring relationships.

To read more about the book, or to purchase a copy, please click here.

Join our mailing list by clicking here.

Call for Comic and Graphic novel submissions

Singing Dragon and Jessica Kingsley Publishers have recently started developing an exciting new line of comics and graphics novels and we are now open for submissions.

Singing Dragon publishes authoritative books on all aspects of Chinese medicine, yoga therapy, aromatherapy, massage, Qigong and complementary and alternative health more generally, as well as Oriental martial arts. Find out more on www.singingdragon.com

JKP are committed to publishing books that make a difference. The range of subjects includes autism, dementia, social work, art therapies, mental health, counselling, palliative care and practical theology. Have a look on www.jkp.com for the full range of titles.

If you have an idea that you think would work well as a graphic book, or are an artist interested in working with us, here is what we are looking for:

Graphic novel or comic – Long form

We are looking for book proposals that are between 100 and 200 pages, black and white or colour, and explore the topics listed above or another subject that would fit into the JKP/Singing Dragon list. Specifically we are hoping to develop more personal autobiographical stories.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the plot/outline of the book, as well as short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Character sketches of the main characters with descriptions.
  3. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 5 to 10 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  4. Solo writers will need to submit 10 to 20 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

Comic – Short form

We have some shorter comic projects underway and are looking to expand the range of topics covered. These books can run from 20 to 40 pages, black and white or colour, with dimensions of 170x230mm. We are mainly looking for comics that provide ideas and information for both professionals and general readers.

For example, the first in this series, published by Singing Dragon, is a book exploring the latest developments in chronic pain research.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the narrative style and subject matter to be explored in the book. Also include short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 3 to 5 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  3. Solo writers will need to submit 5 to 10 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

When submitting please provide low-res images and send them, along with everything else, to Mike Medaglia at mike.medaglia@jkp.com

If you have any other ideas that don’t directly relate to the subjects described above but you feel might still fit into the Singing Dragon or JKP list, please feel free to get in touch with ideas and enquiries on the email above.

June Wood Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

In our previous blog we introduced the element Wood through a visualization exercise to help children begin to feel the Element in themselves and the environment.  The focus was on the imagination and creativity qualities that Wood Element offers in life. We will continue with Wood in this blog and expand on the way it supports child development.

Beside creativity and imagination, the Wood Element gives us two other important gifts, our physical mobility and flexibility. Here we want to emphasize that the development of flexibility happens as strongly in the mental capacity as in the physical. A good analogy of a flexible nature in someone can be seen in a bamboo tree. No matter which direction the wind blows, bamboo will stand upright over and over again. The following exercise is an example of how you can bring this experience to a family or small group of children. It creates a lot of movement involving rolling, turning and stretching that is good for everyone. Above all, it is really fun and brings laughter and play into the dynamics of any group.

June Wood imageThe World is Coloured

Particularly in springtime we experience a large variety of colours in nature. Everything blossoms, budding fresh green leaves and flowers of every hue.  Everywhere you look nature is full of energy and joy for life. The following exercise can bring all of these qualities to everyone in the family or group.

The family members sit down on a big towel of their own, and are told it is a large tub full of different colours, whatever they imagine. Everyone chooses one particular colour that they are sitting in and shares which colour they selected.  Each can say the special reason why the colour they picked is their colour for today. 

Then everybody should “paint himself” –if possible everywhere- with his favourite colour, by turning on his towel, rolling and lolling about. Encourage each to try all the movements possible in their tub.

Then ask, “Is your body totally covered with colour? Well, now let’s paint the floor!“

Everybody rolls and rolls throughout the space. There are obstacles everywhere! If another person is touched, their colours mix. What colour is it now?

After a few minutes everybody sits up.

 “So, now let’s paint the soles of each other’s feet – pick a partner and ask your partner which colour he would like.  Apply the colour firmly on your partner’s soles. When you are done, everybody stand up and make footprints with big or small steps in the whole room! Now, try to walk in the footprints of another person and see what it feels like to walk in their steps.”

Everybody has to go under a shower afterwards. Everyone searches for a place in the room for himself/herself and shakes the colours off vigorously under their shower.

To end, everyone must hop until they are dry!

The physical activity of this exercise allows the Wood Element’s need for large movements, imagination, loud noises, and stretching for everyone.  Allow the dynamics of the group to unfold. There might be natural directors that appear as others ideas and creativity come and go. Give room for each to experience and work out what might be difficult or easy in the interactions and instructions. Experiencing any difficulty is as important as experiencing the ease in all of the Five Element exercises, as participants have the opportunity to try out new solutions.

If anger appears, allow this. Anger is the natural response to frustration and the emotion expressed in the Wood Element. Activities that give children permission to experiment with anger, supports healthy development as they learn how to manage this strong energy. For those that struggle moving through this emotion, the following exercise can be added:

Lightning Power

Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-webSit without shoes on a chair.  Cling your toes into the floor and tense all the muscles of your feet.

Now imagine a lightning bolt which sends the anger down into the floor. If the child likes he/she can also clench the hands and make a grimace with the face.

After a while relax and enjoy how much lighter everything feels now.

We invite you to look for what comes next month as we enter into the Fire Element and season of summer. This article can be downloaded in a pdf format by clicking on this link so that you can start creating a notebook of Five Element exercises that will be offered each month. You can find more information and examples of how the Five Elements support development in children in the book, Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists, published by Singing Dragon.

NEXT: July Fire Element Activities – nicking socks and making faces