Cover Image: Body Aware

Body Aware

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Member Reviews

In Body Aware, counselor and dance/movement therapist Erica Hornthal invites you to explore how all of the ways in which you move affect your mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Some aspects of the book worked better for me than others, and I think the author overpromises and underdelivers, but your mileage may vary. I didn’t feel like the author provided sufficient instruction for me to be able to locate where I hold my emotions and how to work with them skillfully, but I did find some of her suggested exercises helpful. I particularly liked her encouragement to be more mindful of all of the countless ways we move and to explore new ways of moving as a means of self-discovery, personal expression, and cultivating resilience.

The book really shines when the author shares stories from her work with clients. Although it’s certainly useful as self-help, I think this book would be particularly valuable for anyone working with people who have difficulty communicating verbally, including young children and those with conditions such as dementia or autism.

Thanks to the publisher, North Atlantic Books, for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley that I volunteered to review.
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I had high hopes for “Body Aware” by Erica Hornthal and for the average person, seems like a good resource.  But, despite the author frequently talking about how dance and movement therapy can be adapted for any ability, I found the book a bit off putting at times as someone with a significant physical disability. My condition affects the range of motion in every joint, my spine, and I have hearing and vision loss. So, many of the techniques discussed were not possible for me. Furthermore, while I understand that the author meant no offense certain quotes or passages  were kinda upsetting. The main example I can think of had to do with the importance of spine flexibility and how it relates to managing emotions, resilience etc. My spine is fused and in a permanent C Shaped scoliosis curve. My gut reaction when reading about spine flexibility was well, I’m screwed haha. I was also disappointed that the chapter related to disability didn’t include more practical / hands on examples for modifications to the exercises described earlier in the book. 

Having said all this, I did like the message about learning to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. I liked the idea that any movement is good and not to hold out for formal exercise activities. 

I would recommend this book for people without significant disabilities who are looking for ways to better their physical and mental health. It could also be beneficial for caregivers, teachers etc to learn about the theoretical side of dance / movement therapy and then incorporate with those they interact with.
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Body Aware is such an invaluable resource to anyone who feels stuck or just wants to have a better understanding of themselves. Erica made me pay more attention to the fact that the the lack of movement in my life was having a significant impact on my mood and overall well being. I found myself getting up and stretching multiple times while reading certain passages and am now asking myself daily “How am I moving today?”

This book is not just for those in the field of psychology and movement. This book is for everyone! Erica makes everything so clear and relatable, I cannot recommend this enough.
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As someone who danced for years, and someone who currently struggles with chronic pain issues, I  was very intrigued by this book. I love how Ms. Hornthal shows the reader how to listen to our bodies and what types of movements we may be lacking. She especially focuses on people with physical difficulties, and we're probably the ones who need it the most. It was a thoroughly written book that I will definitely take note of.
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I have been exploring somatic movement, breathing practices and other forms of embodiment. What I really needed was this book to provide a framework for those explorations. Thank you to the author, Erica Hornthal, the publisher, North Atlantic Books (especially Emily Shapiro), and NetGalley for an ARC of this information-packed and inspiring book.

Body Aware posits "How you feel and how your body moves could mean the difference between surviving and thriving. Said another way . . . how you move impacts who you are and how you feel." We all know, and have experienced, how our thoughts and emotions impact our body. We are happy and it feels like our body is floating through air. We are anxious and our throat constricts. We are afraid and our stomach ties itself in knots. We feel loved and our body relaxes. In Body Aware, Hornthal takes that connection a step further and says how we move our body impacts our thoughts and feelings. The connection is not a stream running in a single direction but a two-way road with traffic moving in both directions.

The book contains theory, real-world examples, and concrete next steps. There are plenty of citations to point readers to further explorations of any concepts which snag their attention. The book is compassionate and gentle, encouraging curiosity. The reader feels guided by an experienced and loving hand rather than lectured to. If you are interested in flourishing, this is a good place to start. Becoming aware of and then expanding the way we move our bodies is an accessible way to impact our lives for the better.

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"Body Aware" by Erica Hornthal is an interesting read and movement theories and interventions presented definitely will help me expand my practice. Helpful case studies, takeaways and summaries.

However, the data was missing and many of the points presented in the book were anecdotal. I could also live without the personal stories of the author and I didn't appreciate the not-so-subtle bashing of talk therapists.
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Amazing book. So needed in the days we are living, when the pandemic has opened so many wounds in humanity that we do not know how to address in a real, profound way. I was left with real tools and a big sense of hope and self empowerment potential.
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Body Aware has been one of my favorite reads so far this year. Erica Hornthal shows how you can get out of your way and create your best life. If you have depression or any negative feelings she has a guide to help you connect with your self which will guide you into being able to connect with ours. You learn that sometimes the person in your way is yourself.
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I thought this was an interesting read, I’ve been recovering from a HA and was told to always listen to my body, but this book just enforced it. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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Body Aware is an interesting book which shows how the mind and body connect and how we should focus more on movement in order to heal ourselves with this not necessarily meaning exercise but just thinking about how our bodies move everyday. I found this book to be interesting at parts but i also found some of it to feel quite repetitive and long with huge blocks of text to read. It would have been nice to have some more everyday examples of situations where body awareness has helped people as whilst it's great the elderly in care homes are benefitting so greatly I'd rather an equal mix of ages and types of people as at one stage it seemed they were the only ones being talked about. It was good to see how movement can make such a difference and it's nice to have a few suggested activities within the book to try out. I think the information in this book is great and it's an interesting look on a new way of healing but the book is not always the easiest or most interesting to read based on the writing style.
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A very interesting read.  

Lockdown saw my usual exercise routine practically dry up and this book reinforces the message of the mind/body link, how movement can help, especially to lift my mood in the stressful situation I currently find myself in. It's got me really thinking about my movements during the whole day. Very interestingly for me, it talks about listening to your body and exercising intuitively.  

So much of this book made sense and the impact it has had on me is shown by the fact I've finally signed up for a dance based exercise class (I'm not a particularly good dancer it has to be said!) which I'm surprised to find I'm really enjoying - I have caught myself with more bounce to my everyday movements - like when fetching the mug to make a cuppa - than before, which is exactly what this book suggested might develop and I was sceptical of.  Fascinating stuff and I'm feeling better for the exercise it's encouraging me to do.
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Great book on body awareness and how the the mind and body are so connected, and the importance of that connection. She offers stories of others, tips, information, and a "body awareness break" to give you some tools. For many of us, it becomes easy to ignore our bodies and how they are screaming at us to pay more attention. This book helps you to become more aware.
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Hornthal'sBody Aware explains how beneficial movement helps the body heal. Movement therapy gets overlooked quite often as a source of mental healing. 

Through three different sections (How You Move, How Movement Is A Catalyst For Change, and Transforming Your Life Through Movement), Hornthal presents easy to understand concepts of intentional movement and its benefits. 

You will learn things like interpreting your body's own language, exploring where you hold emotions within the body physically, determining emotional blockages, and transforming harmful thoughts to positive ones that generate emotional resilience. Hornthal even covers movement diversity and disability.

While I loved that there were sections on disability and movement diversity, overall I felt disappointed that more concrete movement changes weren't included. I do better with specifics. 

Reading through the book did encourage me to seek out my own ways to move differently. I've started spontaneously dancing more often, and I finally got around to starting Qigong as exercise I can do with my ME (Myalgic encephalomyelitis) and long COVID.

*******Many thanks to Netgalley and North Atlantic Books for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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The mind/body connection is so important and powerful! Erica gets it right with this book! She writes about how healing it is to move your body in joyful ways. This book is perfect for every beginner!
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A fascinating read and a resource I will come back to again and again. It gives some clear and easy to understand advice about understanding the connection between your body and your mind. It's something I've never considered before and doing some of the exercises has really switched me into movement therapy and how my emotions sit within my body.
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Body Aware by Erica Hornthal guides the reader in understanding the mind body connection, understanding how our mental and emotional state impacts our physical movements and vice-a-versa. Essentially it is a book about movement therapy, how the way we move our body can help to ground and alleviate various mental and emotional issues. It does not propose that movement alone is a cure-all, but rather, helps you to identify where you may be holding emotions in your body and how this may be impacting the way you move and feel. There are many tips and movement exercises to help you get in touch with your body so that you can be more aware of how a feeling is manifesting physically. A big takeaway for me was that when you are able to become more aware of your body you are able to gain new perspectives, perceptions, confidence, and self-awareness. Our body takes the brunt of our emotional and mental states, so when we have visceral physical sensations, we can speak to them through movement. 

What surprised me most about movement therapy was that it has a major intuitive aspect to it. Being able to tune into your body and make connections between emotions and physical sensations requires trust, silence, and communication with your higher self. We have not been taught to listen to our bodies as we are almost always in our heads. There is an incredible amount of wisdom in our body if we can learn how to feel it. 

My only critique is that I think having some drawings or diagrams would have been helpful, as well as breaking up the text more throughout, since some of the best nuggets of wisdom were lost in big blocks of text.

The author does a great job at explaining the interconnectedness between mind, body, and soul and how we can try to bring them into alignment. I think this book is a must read for holistic practitioners, dancers, and those deeply interested in embodiment.
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This is a must-have resource to help one improve mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. It is full of great strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
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