Reviewed by Magdalena Ball
Thrive Through Yoga
A 21-Day Journey to Ease Anxiety, Love Your Body and Feel More Alive
By Nicola Jane Hobbs
ISBN: 9781472942999, Paperback, 192pages, Jan 2018
Yoga seems to have formed the backbone of my life, ever since I was a child and my parents taught Yoga in the living room. As a daily practice, yoga provides me with space to breath a little slower, to find a core centre, and to continually work on my flexibility and strength. It’s the perfect exercise for body and mind. There are plenty of yoga guides out there, and a very confusing set of different yoga styles and philosophies, but Nicola Jane Hobbs’ presents a particularly compelling approach that transcends style and focuses on practical application. For one thing, she’s seriously charismatic, demonstrating each pose with grace and clarity, and very openly using her own personal story of anorexia, OCD, depression and anxiety in order to provide real empathy and connection. For another, she’s not just another charismatic young ‘influencer’. Hobbs has serious qualifications in Yoga, Psychology, and Nutrition, and has clocked up many hours of experience which are put to good use in this very readable book.
Thrive Through Yoga is beautifully presented with large, full colour images. As the title suggests, the book is structured into a workshop of 21 days – each day presenting a specific focus, such as Self Awareness, Slowing Down and Being Present, Forgiveness and Letting Go. The days begin with an overview, an inspirational quote and mantra, a focus exercise called “Heart-Centred Exploration”, a yoga sequence, and a meditation. Taken sequentially, it really is a powerful way to transform not just your body, but your reactivity, your overall sense of well-being and perceptions. Each day’s activities don’t take a long time – maybe an hour or so all up, but they’re meant to provide a kind of overall gloss to the day – something you carry around with you mentally. Each day’s yoga sequence contains a full one page overview of the exercises or asanas and generally include the “Thrive sequence” which is provided at the start of the book.
You don’t, of course, have to work through each day sequentially. You can do days at random, or work through it slowly – with just a couple of days a week, following the easy sequences and taking on board the suggested additional exercises. There are also a series of online meditations you can access via Hobbs’ website. In addition, the book contains five full sequences outside of the 21 day program for specific issues like easing anxiety, relieving depression, boosting body image and helping you sleep. These can be done any time, any day, and any where you want to. They also photocopy nicely and provide an excellent way to keep up a practice on the go. There are also meditation scripts, and a full library of poses, which can be quite a useful reference, as each image is a half page and very nicely laid out.
Hobbs’ approach overall is a very warm, compassionate one that advocates gentle empowerment, and slow, sustainable changes over the quick fix or fad. The book is simple, accessible, and easy to follow and suitable for all levels, including beginners. Thrive Through Yoga is an excellent resource for anyone interested in either learning more about Yoga and wanting to take on a full course without having to attend an in-person session, or who wants to go the next step and really begin to improve life through a holistic approach that encompasses a whole new way to view life.