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Practical Workbook of Meditation Exercises for Body, Mind and Emotions
on January 29, 2014
3.5 of 5 stars –
(I'm excited to have won this as a Goodreads First Read – so thanks!)
Basically, this is a good, practical workbook on exercises that focus on your physical presence (body), what you think (mind), and how your feel (emotions).
This book takes a behavioral approach, using exercises, to self-improvement. This is not like the more cognitive self-help books like The Road Less Traveled, and unlike other self-help books it does not deal with the psychological sources or causes of low self-esteem. So I feel it may over-imply the self-esteem part just based on this, but it does offer daily exercises that are well described and easy to follow (that’s good because it could be hard to do if you can’t see it). It’s also helpful that audio versions of some of the meditations are available to download, because it can be beneficial to have audio instructions as you do the exercise. As an aside, I also respect how the author gives appropriate credits and references.
The book is based on the “mindfulness” movement, which is one of those “Zen” things coming out of California. I say that only because that may be how it’s seen by some folks not familiar with it. But…I’m familiar with many of these exercises either in my psychology background, management training, personal coaching, or sports – and they’re useful. Some are used or known in other venues as breathing exercises, meditation, stress reduction, being in the moment, visualizing, thought exercises, positive thinking, centering, getting in touch with feelings.
The author starts with foundational exercises and builds from there. Each exercise is 2-3 pages, first a background or concept is briefly explained, and then the simple steps, taking approximately from a few minutes to half hour. I don’t believe I saw this explained anywhere, but to me all exercises are not meant for all – a useful approach might be to pick those that work best for you and the situation. I took a little longer to do a review because I wanted to put in practice some of the exercises to see if they worked. They basically did, or I could see how they would … although they are meant to be followed over time, not just a one-time fix.
The author’s writing style and explanations are better with the practical exercises, using more real/relatable language. The author is not as clear with the philosophical introduction and explanations because of the use of lingo, what I call psych-speak (or sorry, “California” speak, think ESP), that might be a useful way to explain these concepts to students, but it’s not as accessible to readers less familiar to the “mindfulness” movement.
In other words, if you can get past the esoteric stuff, the exercises are useful, and you might pick up a little philosophical/psychological understanding along the way.