November 30, 2013

The 21 Day Yoga Body by Sadie Nardini. ~ Dana Gornall {Book review}

I love practicing yoga.

I feel so much better when I fit it in regularly but have yet to make a solid daily practice. Work, kids, the dog, laundry, and of course time spent in a semi-comatose state watching The Big Bang Theory all consume my time. Outside of the Iyengar yoga class I try to fit in weekly (I sometimes miss that too) my yoga mat sits in the car.

So when I saw the title The 21 Day Yoga Body, I was intrigued not so much by the idea of a better body (although that can’t hurt) but by setting a habit of a daily practice. It has been mentioned that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I think I ought to give it a try.

When I first started reading this book, I assumed it would be pretty much a yoga manual with asanas, some basic information on yoga itself, and maybe some suggestions on how to eat better. What I didn’t know was that Sadie uses a lot of her personal experiences to relate to the practice of yoga off the mat.

For instance, she relates the story of how she was incorrectly diagnosed with Stage IV leukemia at age 13, and then later found it to actually be a meningitis-type illness. This left her weak, when her mother used a 28 day yoga plan to help facilitate her recovery. This was how yoga initially changed her life.

The book is broken up into 21 days, with each chapter offering a meal plan, a yoga workout for the day and some practical advice on how to apply yoga to everyday life. The beginning also provides a list of foods to shop for and a “how-to” guide to yoga basics—including how to modify her workouts for beginners.

Sadie is honest, open and not afraid to speak her mind.

This is refreshing against the backdrop of so many yoga authors that seem to be insanely pure about everything.

For the most part, I felt the pictures were helpful. At times, I was a little confused how to follow a specific asana. It would have been nice to either have a DVD or website to access to see some demonstrations.

The diet, I didn’t follow. While some of the recipes seemed interesting, I am vegan and Sadie is not.  She does attempt to offer alternatives for vegetarians and vegans for almost every recipe, but it was usually with something like veggie bacon.  Since I already have a host of healthy recipes I use, this wasn’t really a problem for me though. For omnivores looking to clean up their diet,  she offers an easy to follow meal plan.

Sadie also addresses breathing techniques or pranayama with step-by-step instructions, which is especially helpful for someone who is unfamiliar to this.

My favorite parts of the book  were her “themes” or anecdotes used to deliver daily advice. I found these intriguing and helpful and looked forward to each one.

Have I started a daily practice? No. I still found days where I either put off practicing or was too busy to make the time. But I like that I can pick up right where I left off, or simply start all over again from the beginning.

Each day is simple and fairly quick, which does make it manageable in a full schedule. This is one of the things that makes her book so valuable. If you are looking to start a daily practice and want a well-rounded guide to yoga with funny and touching stories, this is a great book to start on that path. For me, I think I am going back to chapter one and starting over again. Maybe this time I’ll follow through!

*Note: I was given this book by the publisher and remain unbiased in my review of the author’s work.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

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