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Practicing mindfulness means living in the moment — here and now — and being aware of your feelings, body, surroundings, and experiences. It can help you decompress, reflect, or clear your mind. Some activities used to help people achieve mindfulness are meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong.
Mindfulness can be an especially valuable technique in our fast-paced society, in which many people deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 30 percent of U.S. adults deal with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime, and in 2015 an estimated 16.1 million U.S. adults had experienced at least one depressive episode that year.
Mindfulness is all about slowing down, being aware of your feelings and thought process, and really being present in the moment. These books explore mindfulness in a variety of different ways, shedding light on the technique and how to apply it to your own life.
Our fast-paced, technology-driven world can cause anxiety in itself. “Mindfulness” teaches you how to use mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a technique used by therapists to help people with anxiety and depression. Author Mark Williams speaks with authority on the subject because he and his colleagues developed the technique. The book also includes mindful meditations you can access.
Mindfulness isn’t only for people with anxiety and depression. Anyone can benefit from unplugging and being present in the moment. The editors from TIME put together the guide “TIME Mindfulness” to help explain the science behind mindfulness and its benefits. There are also tips for practicing meditation.
It takes just a few minutes to live in the moment, according to authors S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. Their book “10-Minute Mindfulness”is designed to help you integrate mindful habits into your daily routine. Each of the habits listed offers a different way to be mindful, similar to a ‘choose your own adventure’ game. Find the ones that work best for you and stick with them.
Stress can cause us to develop lots of unhealthy habits without even realizing it. “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” teaches you to use the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) technique to replace stress-related habits with mindful habits. The MBSR program was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of “Full Catastrophe Living,” and has been taught worldwide as a way to handle stress.
Kids often learn through play. Author Susan Kaiser Greenland created “Mindful Games” as a fun way to show them how to practice mindfulness. She draws on her own experiences teaching mindfulness in a classroom, to teach parents and caregivers how they can introduce the techniques to kids. The book includes 50 games that help develop breathing, focus, self-regulating emotions, and more.
Being mentally present can also help you love yourself and those around you. “Real Love” focuses on teaching meditation techniques that help you form deeper relationships. The book also challenges pop culture’s views of love. Instead of viewing love as romantic, author Sharon Salzberg encourages you to look further and see it as a deep connection with the power to heal.
We can’t change the past, or predict the future, but we can make an effort to improve or appreciate the present. In “No Time Like the Present,” author Jack Kornfield combines his own anecdotal stories with mindfulness and meditation techniques to get you to do just that. The chapters are divided by types of freedom: freedom from fear, freedom to love, and so on. Kornfield’s goal is to help you gain empowerment and freedom to keep moving forward.
“Yoga Girl” Rachel Brathen first became known for her Instagram account, which showcased pictures of her performing yoga poses against beautiful tropical backgrounds. In the book, Brathen shares more about her life, from her rebellious teenage years, to how she’s built a healthy, happy life today. Use her step-by-step guide to practice yoga poses on your own and read about how yoga and meditation made a difference for her.
There’s no such thing as a ‘yoga body’ because every body is a yoga body. Jessamyn Stanley challenges stereotypes in “Every Body Yoga,” while teaching basic yoga poses and practices. She believes in body acceptance and welcomes yoga beginners of all shapes and sizes. In addition to yoga poses, Stanley also shares her personal struggles and how she used yoga to get to a healthier place in life.
You might feel relaxed and enlightened in the studio, but what about after yoga class? “Living Your Yoga” explains how you can bring the practice’s intention to your daily life. Author Judith Hanson Lasater combines her knowledge of the ancient technique with her life experiences and relationships to explain how you can take yoga beyond the mat.
Yin yoga is a slower style of yoga where poses are held for longer periods. “YinSights”focuses more heavily on this style, while also exploring the benefits of yoga as seen by yogis in India, Daoists in China, and medical and scientific researchers of the West. If you enjoy yoga practice and want to learn more about it from different perspectives, you’ll likely enjoy this book.
Do you spend a lot of time sitting at work? “Chair Yoga” guides you through 100 yoga poses and exercises to stretch and strengthen your body without having to leave your seat. The moves are designed to be safe for beginners and those with limited mobility. Exercises include step-by-step instructions and are divided into chapters and organized by body part.
Author Baron Baptiste has been practicing and sharing yoga for over 25 years. In “Perfectly Imperfect,” he shares how yoga goes beyond the poses and allows us to experience spiritual and emotional growth. Baptiste explains how to use the intention of yoga practice to help follow your instincts and live life with intention.
Yoga can be used as a tool to help you feel comfortable in your own skin. “Yoga and Body Image” explores the link between yoga and body image through the unique perspective of 25 contributors, including musician Alanis Morissette. Read personal stories and draw inspiration from how others used yoga to learn about and connect with their bodies.
There’s no doubt that stress isn’t good for our health, but that doesn’t seem to slow us down. Strala is a belief that the healthiest way to achieve health and success is to take an easygoing approach. “Guiding Strala” offers instructions on how to teach yoga and live your life according to this philosophy. It’s a tool for leaders who want to unlock their own potential, as well as challenge and connect with students.
In order be healthy and mindful, you often have to ‘slay’ harmful thought patterns from stress, anxiety, and depression. “Namaslay” teaches you how to do exactly that using yoga practice. There are more than 100 yoga poses, explained step-by-step, and broken down by experience level. The book also includes color photos and tips for avoiding the most common mistakes.
Balance is an important part of healthy living. “Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life” draws on both Eastern and Western medicine to help you create a plan for improving your health. The book offers a 30-day guide to using herbs, nutrition, yoga, and home remedies to cleanse your mind and body.