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.



The Black Market Concierge

Most people don’t know what it’s like to work as a spy or a confidential informant. It’s the type of lifestyle that you would only expect to hear about in an action movie or a mystery novel. For Barry Oberholzer the dangerous world of international espionage is real. When I started reading The Black Market Concierge my first thought was that this has to be fiction but it’s real and it gives a glimpse into a world that few of us know about.

Barry’s story begins with his birth in Huston Texas during a hurricane in 1983. He describes his life as being a little like a hurricane and as you read you see he has been through more upheaval than most people. His father was a South African diplomat and Barry lived in Cape Town South Africa as apartheid was ending and the political scene was changing. He grew up playing rugby and had an interest in aviation. As an adult he worked as a helicopter pilot which led to him selling planes and other flying equipment to foreign countries. After building a broad network of clients, the US embassy in South Africa reached out to him for information on his clients.

Barry didn’t get involved with the U.S. government because he felt obligated to do the right thing, he was more worried about what could happen to him if he didn’t work with them. He had dealings with Iran at a time when the U.S. had sanctions against them and Barry was also getting requests from shady organizations for materials that could be used for combat. First and foremost Barry was a businessman but being on the CIA and FBI’s radar led to some life changing situations.

The Black Market Concierge is a fascinating read that will give you a glimpse into the world of organized crime and government corruption. It was also hard to read in places such as when he describes having to meet a man who has threatened to kill him. He goes into detail on how he and his brother are forced to take a lie detector test to find out if Barry is a mole. As he fears for his life he glances around the room looking for anything that can be used as a weapon.

Barry also gets into his time in a South African prison, he was accused of fraud and brought in for an old business dispute. Barry was jailed by a deceitful government and that is one of the main ideas of his book. The author speaks about the corruption in the South African government but he also speaks about how all governments have corruption. He states how politicians care more about power then helping the people who elected them and gets into why there is a black market in the first place. My favorite part of the book was hearing how he felt about the government and his feelings on the people he met. He does find God but not before suffering great losses.

The Black Market Concierge is the story of one man’s journey through major highs and the lowest of lows. In the end he talks about the importance of faith and how it got him through. It’s hard to believe this is a true story but it is and Barry Oberholzer gives some great life advice that he learned from his ordeal.

The Kidney Donor’s Journey: 100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney

Donating organs is something that most people probably don’t think about much. You may mark on your driver’s license that you want to be a an organ donor, but very few of us think about donating an organ while still alive.  Ari Sytner was one person who did think about donating a kidney and donated his to a single mother of 3 kids. In order to enlighten others to the process of kidney donation he wrote The Kidney Donor’s Journey: 100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney.

Donating a kidney is not an easy decision to make and there is a lot to consider if you plan to do so.  The Kidney Donor’s Journey has all the answers to your questions if you wanted to donate a kidney. I never thought of the idea of donating an organ while still living and I wondered why the author did. With my limited knowledge on kidney donation I just thought it was a risky procedure to have done when you have a family depending on you. That being said Ari gets into all the reasons he wanted to donate a kidney. For Ari he saw a need and wanted to help. When he was done, he wrote this book as a guide for others who want to give to people who were suffering.

Ari did not make the decision to donate a kidney lightly, from the time he thought about it until he did it was a long process. In this book he breaks down the process and takes you on his journey step by step. The Kidney Donor’s Journey is presented in a question and answer format and gives you all the details of what he went through. He gets into why to donate, what led him to do it, what to expect when you are being considered as a donor and what you have to go through in the aftermath. It was not an easy decision or an easy process but Ari felt that all life had value and he wanted to help someone. In the end he was able to help a stranger get her life and dignity back.

My favorite part of this book was a quote by Ari Sytner where he states that he doesn’t see himself as a hero, he is someone who just wanted to make the world and the life of people around him better. The Kidney Donor’s Journey is the story of someone who probably has more compassion than most people and he sells you on doing the ultimate act of kindness. He even answers questions on if you would have trouble getting insurance when you’re done and talks about any regrets that you might have. This is an inspiring book and it doesn’t sugar coat anything, when you do something like this there are some good points and bad points to consider and this book lays out everything like a road map.

Giving Candy to Strangers

Giving Candy to StrangersToo many sales people are focused on the end result, the outcome—the close—and another notch on their gun! But, what if you approached “sales” from a heart-centered standpoint, with curiosity and playfulness, as though the world were your sandbox?

What if you created relationships for no other reason than to help others and make new friends? I know what you are saying, “How can it not be about results when it comes to business?”

The bottom line is important, but if you detach from this burden while you are creating relationships, you will find that the health of your bottomline will improve on its own!

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository   Chapters/IndigoStan Holden

Stan Holden, owner of The LooneyBin Creative Studio, has created work for many Fortune 100 companies. As a protégé, he was first published in a national magazine during the 5th grade. A graduate of California University Long Beach, his screenplay, Rebel Without A Claus, has received a “recommend” by Disney and optioned for filming. He resides in Irvine, CA, with his wife, Reneé, and their two teenagers, Sara and William.

Connect with the author:    Website   Twitter   Facebook

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Book Spotlight: Right or Almost Right

Right or Almost Right (1)Right or Almost Right is based on John Haremza’s 25 years of success in network marketing. It’s John’s answer to the questions so many ask such as, “Where’s the money? Why am I not seeing the success I expected?” As John says, “I meet so many intelligent, hard-working, dedicated network marketers who are struggling. They are not seeing the results they expected, and they always as, “Why?”

John believes that the small subtleties of how the network marketing business is done make the big difference between making a little money versus making a lot of money, between success and struggling. He addresses many of the basics of doing “the business,” from prospecting to leading your organization, and points out what is “right” as compared to what is “almost right.”

John has lived every example contained in his book. “Network marketing changed my life beyond my wildest imagination,” says John. His story is amazing, from living in a trailer park to a well-known network marketing leader. And his story can help you to make your dreams come true too!


​Buy the book:   Amazon  Barnes & Noble   Book Depository

Author’s Bio:

John HaremzaAfter he graduated high school, John got a job as a machine operator at the potato chip plant. When he was promoted to maintenance manager he thought that this $22,000 a year job was the best job he could ever hope for. Then he was introduced to Network Marketing and his life changed forever.

John’s story is one of those American rags to riches, from adversity and obscurity to a life of dreams. Now after spending 23 years in network marketing John has earned over $12 million. He has been responsible for product sales of over $500 million. His teams have earned over $200 million in commissions and he is featured in numerous publications and has produced 100’s of sales tools to support his teams.

​Currently, a regular speaker, consultant and author, John hopes to bring his message of Right or Almost Right to the masses.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

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Fleeing the Hijab

Fleeing the HijabFleeing The Hijab by Sima Goel is the emotional true story of two teenage girls who dreamed of something better. It was the early 1980’s and Sima at the age of thirteen was protesting The repressive government in Iran. Things would get worse in her country though as a new regime came into power and living conditions became even worse for Iranian women.

Sima had seen family die, had to leave school, was being forced to wear a hijab and realized that she wouldn’t be able to live the life she wanted if she stayed in Iran.  Rather than stay in the conditions she was in, she left the country she loved and trekked across the desert to Pakistan and hopefully freedom. The journey was not easy and once they escaped their predicament they became strangers in a strange land with no one to help them.

This story is a lot of different things, it’s a coming of age story, a story of courage and a tale of what it takes for some to earn their freedom. I was drawn to this book because I wondered how two girls could survive a trip across the desert and travel to a land where you knew nobody and couldn’t speak the language. Of course their lives in Iran would have been worse which leads me to one of the things that I really liked about this book.

Despite the repression that Sima felt in Iran she still talks lovingly about her homeland in this book. The way she describes her family, her home, the seasons in Iran and the fruit trees,  you see that she still loves her country and feels no bitterness. Reading this made me feel bad for the Syrian refugees because like Sima they are being forced from their home. I also like the description of Iran in this book. I didn’t know a lot about that area of the world so I liked hearing Sima’s tales of growing up and her adventures as part of the three musketeers(read it and you will understand). I knew nothing about the people in Iran and hearing about Sima’s childhood made me think that she wasn’t that different from American kids in a lot of ways.

Another scene I liked was when Sima as a child is playing in a park. She starts to play with another kid that she doesn’t know and the mother of the child comes over and asks Sima’s last name. When the mother hears the name Goel she is upset with Sima and takes her child away because the child is a Muslim and Sima is Jewish.  Sima is an innocent child and is crushed, she rushes home and demands that her family change their name so she doesn’t have to be embarrassed again. I loved how two young children from different religions had no problem playing together but adults who are used to living a certain way can’t accept kids from a different religion being together.

Fleeing The Hijab is about faith, family and love. Despite what looks like a hard life, Sima feels no anger and has gone on to make a better life for herself. This book is proof that someone can survive being repressed for being different and still go on to be a loving successful person and give other people hope. This book is a must read for anyone that has gone through a hard time and thought that things can’t get better.

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Guest Blog Post: Imagine


Fleeing the HijabImagine your pride in knowing that your ancestors have lived in the same country for over 2500 years; you consider yourself part of the stones and bones of the nation. Imagine that you grow up in a comfortable environment, where your large extended family lives within walking distance; you feel safe and loved. Imagine that you are familiar with the myriad cultural nuances in your vast nation; you are proud of your country, its history, art, and growing position on the world stage.

Imagine being thirteen and finding out that your sense of security was built on a foundation of sand: you wake up one morning and everything you have known, has been swept away. Imagine yearning to read books of science that could lead you to an important profession, or wanting to listen to inspirational, classical music and admire the great masters of the past. Imagine being told that these are forbidden, as are most of the ideas of the modern world.

Imagine being told, regardless of your religion, tradition or belief, that a young girl on the brink of womanhood must wrap herself in heavy black robes or potentially face jail or assault by acid attack.

Imagine that you are two times a minority: a Jew and a woman in a male dominated society. Your wings have been clipped and you can only gaze at the far off sky. There is no future for you in the land of your forefathers.

Imagine that you are sixteen and your only option is to go into hiding. You spend weeks and months, wandering from city to city across your country, effectively homeless. Imagine you are 17 and your mother tells you, “If you have nothing to die for, you have nothing to live for. Imagine you are Sima Goel, and you give yourself into the hands of smugglers to travel across the most dangerous desert in the world.

Imagine you read Fleeing the Hijab, you learn the amazing details of a woman’s life and bow your head in gratitude as you recognize the bountiful blessing that life has offered you.

Gratitude is the best prayer.

Book Description:

A true account of Sima Goel, the Iranian teenager who crossed the most dangerous desert in the world rather than accept the restrictions of life in Iran of the early 1980s. Her quest for freedom is a thrilling, timely inspiration for people longing to create a life of meaning. It was the last straw!

The Ayatollah Khomeini had decreed that all women in Iran must wear the hijab, whether they were Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Baha’i. Thirteen-year-old Sima had gone out into the streets of Shiraz to demonstrate for freedom under the Shah’s oppressive rule, and now that he had fled the country, this was the result: a new regime, and a much more repressive rule. The changes Khomeini’s regime forced on the population were totally incompatible with Sima’s ambitions and sense of personal freedom. Blacklisted by her school, unable to continue her studies, mourning the murders of innocent family members and friends, and forced to wear the hijab, she realized she had to leave her beloved birthplace and find a country where she could be free to follow her dreams.

Fleeing the Hijab is a vivid portrait of a dangerous journey made by two teenaged girls through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where, as homeless refugees, they struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West. It is a story that needs to be heard and remembered.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble  Chapters/Indigo

Author’s Bio:

Dr Sima GoelIranian-born Sima Goel has always had compassion for those who suffer. Her instinctive need to speak out against oppression ultimately resulted in unwanted attention from the authorities, which led her to flee her beloved Shiraz and eventually to Montreal.

Sima Goel is a self-made woman. Her journey to freedom, recounted in her memoir, Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, reflects her belief that, without freedom of choice, life is worthless. She is a strong advocate for the disenfranchised and the rights of all, specifically the rights of women. With the publication of her book, Sima has fulfilled the promise she once made to herself: to speak out and share her truth that freedom is the most precious commodity of all.

Wellness chiropractor, health advocate, inspiring author and an in-demand speaker, Dr. Goel considers her most important role to be that of mother to her two teenage boys, and wife to her beloved husband.


Connect with the author:   Website ~  Twitter ~  Facebook

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