Body Aware: Rediscover Your Mind-Body Connection, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Improve Your Mental Health with Simple Movement Practices

Erica Hornthal. North Atlantic, $17.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-62317-689-1

This enjoyable guide by dance therapist Hornthal (My Body Talks) explores the healing powers of movement. Drawing on personal anecdotes and client stories from her practice, the author examines the mind-body connection and provides exercises to foster it and improve mental health. Hornthal recounts how she started dancing at a young age and used it to cope with such major life changes as moving across the country while in high school and later when entering college. She also tells how movement therapy has helped her clients—including a woman with Parkinson’s disease who showed significant improvement in dexterity after attending the author’s dance therapy—positing that “working on connectivities in the body fosters connection in the brain.” Hornthal provides exercises to strengthen the mind-body connection, suggesting, for instance, that readers stand in a doorway with their feet against the sides of the frame and then “play with the space” to foster self-awareness. She also addresses movement in neurodiverse people and those with disabilities, urging readers to “try movement from a different perspective,” whatever that may mean for their bodies. Her compassionate tone and inclusive approach make for a rewarding manual. Insightful and sensitive, this will delight the mindfulness crowd. (Aug.)