Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Wellbeing
By Thich Nhat Hanh
Illustrations by Wietske Vriezen
What is this book about?
This book by Thich Nhat Hanh, “Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Wellbeing”, is a book about mindfulness and how to connect your mind and body in mindfulness practice. Thich Nhat Hanh developed the mindful movement exercises to “bring awareness and enjoyment back into our bodies and into the movements we make with our bodies”.
This book provides an easy to understand and access explanation of mindfulness and the importance of mindfulness for wellbeing and happiness. In the words of the author:
“Mindfulness helps us to come back to the here and now, to be aware of what is going on in the present moment, and to be in touch with the wonders of life”.
Mindful Movements also outlines the seven miracles of mindfulness, and explains the importance of breathing and moving mindfully and how to connect these two.
Why do I like this book?
I love when mindfulness is made accessible and presented as more than the stereotype of meditation. Meditation is fantastic and has great evidence of its benefits….and also, I’ve noticed that the idea of more formal meditation is not for everyone, and that some children and teens can struggle with it. So this book is fantastic in making mindfulness accessible.
I love movement and connecting to movement, so this concept is a great fit for me. It’s also a great way for young people and adults who have lost touch with their body, e.g., from experiences of trauma, to start to reconnect in helpful ways. To develop awareness of body, feelings, and body sensations, realise they can influence how their body feels and that they can use their body to calm and feel more settled.
My favourite part of the book is this sentence, “When people have peace in themselves, then there can be peace in the world”. Why is this a favourite sentence? I love the idea that an individual can benefit from mindfulness but so too can our communities and our world.
And finally, this book has great illustrations and is beautifully presented….and a portion of the proceeds of every book sold goes to support nonprofits in Vietnam.
How do I use the book?
I like to use this book with tweens and teens to introduce the idea of mindfulness. You could use it with younger children and adults too, I just haven’t done this.
I use this book to help young people start to develop mindfulness for a few reasons:
To connect to their bodies in soothing ways
To connect to their bodies in ways that help them start to develop an awareness of their interceptive cues e.g., their heart rate and breathing
To engage young people who need to do something more active in therapy than talking or expressive arts activities
To help young people develop their skills and confidence in connecting to their body and using mindful breathing and movement to feel more regulated
To develop regular self-care/wellbeing routines for young people
This book is also great for talking about the importance of mindfulness in daily life. For example, mindfulness to self soothe in stressful situations or to be more connecting in interpersonal interactions for more successful and rewarding relationships.
I love this book and I hope you love it too.
Let me know your thoughts and how you use the book.
Dr Leonie White - Clinical Family Therapist and Psychologist
Helping people grow, connect and thrive in life’s unique journey.
Please note - this article is educational in nature and does not constitute therapy advice.
Please seek help from a professional if you require support.