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Posted May 11, 2010
This book and related texts on the topic should be required reading for any medical or health practitioner! Deb Shapiro has been teaching bodymind therapy and meditation with her husband Ed for 25 years. She describes the premise of her book: "By learning the body's language of symptoms, you will soon discover that there is an extraordinarily intimate two-way communication going on that affects both your physical state and your mental and emotional health." Your Body Speaks Your Mind goes on to detail the body parts, some common diseases, disorders, and issues for each body part, and outlines their possible psychological and emotional connections.
I appreciated Shapiro's overall acknowledgement about illness in the opening pages. She writes, "Illness is real. Accidents happen. Medicine can help." Shapiro continues, "I am not saying that by understanding the bodymind relationship you will be able to cure all your physical difficulties. What I am saying is that such an understanding adds an essential, and invariably overlooked, component to your healing process."
To strengthen and clarify her bodymind concepts, Shapiro cites research studies, quotes medical and psychiatric professionals, and offers countless personal stories.
Shapiro presents various avenues of self-study and healing, including mindfulness, meditation, writing and personal dialogue, affirmations, creative visualization, and imagery. I was particularly glad to see pranayama and the chakra system explored as tools for bodymind awareness. Throughout the book, she utilizes these avenues by offering bodymind dialogue questions, exercises, meditation practice ideas, imagery and journaling explorations, and affirmation examples. For instance, Shapiro describes general shoulder pain as meaning "you may be carrying too much [emotional/stress baggage] on your own." To deepen understanding with shoulder pain, she encourages these questions: "Have you been carrying other people's problems for too long? Is there something or someone you need to put down?"
A wonderful CD accompanied this book that includes two guided visualization/meditation practices that can assist and encourage the bodymind awareness practice.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is healing something, helping someone heal, or wanting a deeper and more mindful self-understanding. (So I'm pretty sure that is everyone!) For more bodymind resources, check out Deb and Ed Shapiro's website, as well as Ed and Deb's blog at the Huffington Post.
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