A delightful and highly readable evaluation of yoga principles and the way they have influenced one woman’s life.

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GOING BEYOND THE POSE

USING YOGA AS A COMPASS TO ORIENT YOUR LIFE TOWARD HAPPINESS

In this debut memoir, the author examines four yoga paths—knowledge, love, action, and meditation—showing readers how they can enrich each day.

Designed as an autobiography that explores the way yoga impacted Nitting’s life, this title reveals the deeply personal journey through wellness that she embarked on to discover serenity and peace. The author invites readers to find ways in which they may already be invoking the principles of yoga every day. From stories about her parents expressing love and devotion during her childhood to tales of her own growth through adolescence and adulthood, the author weaves in the spiritual principles of the four yoga paths. For example, in one section, she describes “living yoga” by resolving to be present in every activity, encouraging readers to experience the joy of even mundane tasks like washing dishes or cleaning their homes. Delving into yoga’s action path, the author discusses karma and the principle of serving others from a place of selflessness. She also emphasizes the merits of nonjudgment—focusing on one’s own failures rather than giving attention to the errors of others. Nitting stresses the importance of these teachings and how they have led her to a calmer and more vibrant and contented life, reducing anxiety and uncomfortable situations sparked by ego. Asanas, the practice of yoga that involves mastering the body, is just one of the many topics discussed in the book. The author delivers a much wider view of what the practice encompasses than most yoga titles provide. Literally going beyond the pose, she deeply investigates the ways the principles of yoga affect all of the moments and intentions of life, not just on the mat, but also at home, work, school, and in everyday community interactions. In this inspiring memoir that surveys a set of universal principles, the author thoroughly and conversationally gives yoga novices a gateway to understanding and learning this powerful practice.

A delightful and highly readable evaluation of yoga principles and the way they have influenced one woman’s life.

Pub Date: March 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5043-9996-8

Page Count: 174

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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