Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body

To people who haven’t tried it, yoga may seem like some mysterious new age religion that is hard to understand. What I mean is that you’ve probably heard people describe all the benefits but you are left to wonder how will it help me in my day-to-day life? Yoga can help you deal with anxiety, depression and help you become stronger but it’s hard to explain how yoga can do that. Yoga is something that has to be experienced in order to find out what it can do for you.

This being said, if you are looking to learn more about what yoga is all about it’s a good idea to hear it from the experts in the field. Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body is edited by Melanie C Klein and describes the practice like it hasn’t been done before. Included here are 30 essays from yoga teachers telling you exactly what they got out of the practice of yoga and why it is so important.

A lot of times when you read articles on yoga you hear about how it will lead you to a deeper understanding of yourself and help you focus but it doesn’t tell you how you get from point A to point B. Yoga Rising gives you stories on how many of these instructors found meaning in yoga  Many of them tell how they have dealt with issues like body shaming, eating disorders, race issues, anxiety and how yoga helped them to work through these issues. They also describe how yoga changed them in a way that I’ve never seen described before.

One of my favorite essays in this book speaks about how doing yoga got her past the negative self talk in her head. It was no magic pill, she achieved this by continuing her practice and eventually all of the self-hatred faded away. Yoga may be hard work but it leads to great results. One of the messages I saw in this book a lot was how yoga is accepting how there will be suffering but if you don’t fight it and act mindful the suffering will be less intense. and lead to growth. I see this as an important lesson to learn.

Many of the writers in Yoga Rising also take a look at how the media sends the wrong message about yoga. When you see people in the media who practice yoga they are usually thin white athletic women who make regular looking people feel intimidated. That’s what’s beautiful about this book. A lot of the instructors in it have different shaped bodies, come from different ethical backgrounds and most of all show that they are not perfect people like the media would portray. This is one of the best books on yoga that I’ve read because it gives you stories you can relate too.



Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond

Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond by Isaac Alexis is a hard book to describe. It’s part auto-biography and part medical advice book.Dr. Alexis tells us about how he became a doctor and shares some of his stories from working as a doctor in a correctional hospital. He also give a lot of medical advice and addresses issues such as STDs, drug abuse, strokes, parenting tips, leading a healthier lifestyle and much more.

I enjoyed hearing about Dr. Alexis’s adventures growing up in New York, he gives his reasons for wanting to become a doctor and talks about how seeing people in his family struggle with sickness, his strict mother and wanting to stay away from street gangs made him decided that he wanted to help people. Parts of this book are inspiring as he shows that if you are willing to work hard you can accomplish what you want.

Dr. Alexis also gives some great advice throughout the book, such as what your target heart rate and pulse should be and he gets into what foods are the most healthy. He states that a plant-based diet is important and mentions the health benefits of the Indian spice, turmeric.  There is a lot of good information along with some gut wrenching stories. Such as a man who needed surgery for a bowel problem and the head of the department would not ok it. There were also stories about people trying to escape prison by doing such things as swallowing razor blades. Probably the best parts of this book is when he explains how easy it is to get STD’s, how to avoid them and how you can keep your kids from giving in to peer pressure.

Dr. Alexis’s book has some great stories and his passion for people really shines through. Though some of the information he talked about went over my head, I still found it informative. I thought it felt a little more like reading someone’s blog than a book because the way he jumps from talking about his life, to working in the hospital, to giving medical advice. This didn’t take away from the fact that it’s an enjoyable educational book and a quick read. It made me wish I had a doctor like him.


The Heart of the Highlands: The Beast

Times are hard in Scotland, a civil war is going on over politics and religion. Also England and France have a big influence over what is happening in the Highlands. With all the civil unrest, people are becoming victims of circumstance and have to deal with conflicts they have no control over. One of those people is Keira Sinclair. Keira had a simple life but with her clan about to lose everything she is offered in an arranged marriage to a Laird  of a neighboring clan. She has to leave the only home she has ever known but she goes along with it for the good of her family.

In route to her new fiance she is taken captive by Ian McKay, a man with many secrets. Ian’s mission is to protect the Scottish crown and expose the clans who are involved in treason. As if the conflicts in Scotland weren’t complicated enough, both Keira and Ian start to become attracted to each other despite their clans being enemies. Now Keira is forced into having a bigger part of a conflict she doesn’t understand and Ian has to deal with his feelings for a woman who may be on the wrong side of his beliefs.

 Heart of the Highlands: The Beast by April Holthaus is a historical romance that doesn’t disappoint. I’m more into the historical then the romance but this book had a good mix of both. My favorite part of this book was Keira. In this story you see everything that Keira believes turned upside down. She quickly goes to being a naive girl who thinks she is doing what is best for her family to realizing that there was a lot about the world she didn’t understand.

In what was the best scene of the book, she goes into a confessional to tell a priest all the events that have affected her clan in the years since her mother’s death. She tells the priest that her family has moved away from the Catholic church and she isn’t sure she believes in the Protestant Religion. She thinks the Priest is the only one she can trust but soon finds that even religious men aren’t always good. Nothing is clear-cut in the Scottish Highlands and everyone has their own agenda. Keira is then left with the decision as to what is right for her and figuring out who to trust. Ian is also an interesting character as we see him change from the brute he is in the beginning to who he becomes at the end. I also loved how we find out how the king of Scotland keeps an eye on his people.

Heart Of The Highlands does have some slow parts, I felt some of the romance went on a little to long and the action sequences were not described very well. Also some of the language seemed a little out of place. That being said this book had more pluses than negatives. I loved the characters, and I liked the scenes where religion and politics of the time was discussed. The descriptions of the castles and the life of the people was an intriguing part of the story as well. Fans of historical romance will find a lot to love about this book. I’t’s well researched, a quick read and brings history to life, what more can you ask for?