Book Review: Mindful Movements

Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being

Mindful Movements by Thich Nhat Hanh by Thich Nhat Hanh

“When people have peace in themselves, then there can be peace in the world. This is our practice every day.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

As a long time meditation practitioner, I share it with my children whenever they are curious. But, I had been looking for an interesting way to teach them moving meditation. I came across this book and thought it would be perfect. While it isn’t really a book I can sit down and read with my kids, they have been interested in looking at it and in learning the movements.

The book includes a well-written summary about the essence of mindfulness, including the 7 aspects that practicing mindfulness brings to your life. It is very useful for an absolute beginner to get a real understanding of mindfulness and breath awareness in just a few pages. My kids have listened to me read it several times since the idea of meditating while moving hadn’t occurred to them and they find it intriguing. Now, when I am doing the dishes, they remind me to meditate.

After the introdution, there is a short settling into breath passage, then the 10 movements are each shown on a double page, text on the left and an illustration demonstrating the movement on the right. Following the movements, there is a closing passage inviting you to enjoy the feelings and breathing. I really like this part as it reminds you to be mindful. I realize this is a book about mindfulness, but the easiest place to lose mindfulness is when finishing. For me, it seals the practice into my memory so that it is easier to recall the feeling later, when I’ve stepped back into life.

Mindful Movement Illustration

The book closes with a biography about Thich Nhat Hanh and one of his poems called, “The Virtuous Man.” It’s a beautiful poem and I’ve read it to my children several times. The first time, I asked them what they thought it meant and after we got past the, “I don’t know” resistance, they had a good time imagining all sorts of things from the words. Another time I read it to them was when they were in the middle of watercolor painting. I didn’t say anything about the poem. I simply read it as they were creating.

I plan to meditate while reading the poem in the future. The language of the poem invites thought deeper than simply, that’s a beautiful poem. It wants to be savored.

The dvd is excellent if you are the type of person who likes to feel they are getting the movements “right.” But, they really are simple enough to learn from the words alone. Of course, you can find many videos of the sequences, as well as more about bringing mindfulness into movement for free online (like the one below.)

The edition of the book that I have is a compact size (like a large board book) that could work for on the go or for kids to hold themselves. It has a hard cover and thick, semi-gloss pages with colorful illustrations of the movements. The covered, spiral binding lays flat during practice. The dvd slides into a heavy weight plastic flap inside the back cover for storage.

Even though you can find videos and texts demonstrating and explaining the Mindful Movements Sequence, I do recommend the book if you enjoy a nice looking, hard copy in an attractive and convenient size for reading or practicing.

Video of Thich Nhat Hanh demonstrating the 10 Mindful Movements:

Post for NaBloPoMo (Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.) NaBloPoMo November 2013

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Mindful Movements

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