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Um, Like ... OM: A Girl Goddess's Guide to Yoga    by Evan Cooper order for
Um, Like ... OM
by Evan Cooper
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What a great title! This book for teen girls continues in the same engaging tone to shed light and levity on coping with daily pressures, meditation, and yoga. Evan Cooper, who teaches yoga, tells us 'There are all levels of trauma in life, but none as bad as when you are a teenage girl discovering your world isn't magazine-perfect.' She tells us that yoga helps 'lead you into a deep sense of calm and confidence, that sense of knowing you'll be okay.'

Cooper chats about what it means to be a teenager, saying that 'Yoga has the power to transform a struggling teen into a spiritual warrior', with examples from her students. She tells us that yoga 'is ultimately about listening to the sound of your own heart'. She introduces its different styles, explains breathing techniques and meditation, and discusses the body's 7 energy centers ('chakras'). Yoga 'asanas' (physical positions) are presented (with illustrations) in subsequent chapters, that discuss how they can help you cope with teen issues.

One chapter suggests techniques to alleviate fear. Another talks about the natural high that yoga gives, and the next explains how it can help you feel good about yourself. Next, Cooper addresses the '"Oh My God I'm Not Perfect!" Complex' and how yoga helps with a positive body image. She gets into diet and nutrition, with exercises that stimulate digestion and release endorphins. There's 'Yoga During Your Moon Cycle', yoga for dealing with boys, for getting along with friends and family, handling peer pressure, academic stress, sleep deprivation, and obstacles in general.

Cooper talks of 'adolescence as the journey from girl to goddess' and says of her own experience that 'Yoga taught me how to walk forward when I wanted to run back home.' She shares that gift in Um, Like ... OM, which combines yoga, meditation, and the kind of advice you might hear from a caring, elder sister who's been there and done that.

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