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How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness
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How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  454 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
A growing body of research is showing that mindfulness can reduce stress, improve physical health, and improve one’s overall quality of life. Jan Chozen Bays, MD—physician and Zen teacher—has developed a series of simple practices to help us cultivate mindfulness as we go about our ordinary, daily lives. Exercises include: taking three deep breaths before answering the pho ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Shambhala (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,602)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 11, 2015 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
A faculty mindfulness group recently started gathering, and I went out of curiosity. This book was mentioned as a good way to start. It probably isn't for everyone but I needed concrete ideas of specific things to do, rather than just hoping to be more mindful.

Then I hit this part of the introduction:
"Our essential hunger is not for food but for intimacy. When intimacy is missing in our lives, we feel isolated from other beings, alone, vulnerable, and unloved in the world. We habitually look to
...more
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 10, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it

A practical and valuable book of exercises to increase mindfulness. I found this book very clear, very useful, and I have incorporated a few of its practices into my routine.
Morgan Blackledge
Jun 21, 2015 Morgan Blackledge rated it liked it
This is (yet another) mindfulness book, by (yet another) Buddhist teacher who had contact with Chögyam Trungpa, the famous (or infamous) Tibetan Buddhist gone radical, iconoclast founder of the new Shambhala lineage and Naropa university in Boulder Colorado.

Other contemporary Buddhist luminaries from this clique include: Pema Chodron, Reginald (Reggie) Ray and Mark Epstine to name but a few.

This book is okay. It wouldn't be my first recommendation if you are shopping around for books on mindful
...more
Trish
Jan 02, 2012 Trish rated it really liked it
Jan Chozen Bays has written a book that brings us back to ourselves and calmly, gently, laughingly teaches us to focus on immediate tasks…not to get them over with but to be guided by the process. This is book meant to be read slowly, which is a good thing, for it took me a year. Each chapter is meant to be read one week at a time, giving us time to perform the daily exercise for a week. It gives us time to savor the moments of everyday life, not rush through them as though there were somewhere ...more
Zen Nana
Jul 31, 2011 Zen Nana rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of exercises to achieve and maintain mindfulness on a daily basis. Bays offers 52 ways to focus attention, a handy format for spending a year training your wild elephant mind one week at a time. I read this book on my kindle, but I am going to buy the paperback edition immediately so that I can have it around to refer to frequently and remind myself to practice. There have been only a few books I have kept handy over the years to use as guides and references whenev ...more
Margaretflynn
May 04, 2013 Margaretflynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a wonderful inspired work. I purchased a copy and it will be one of my constant companions from now on.
Elisabeth Schilling
Mar 31, 2016 Elisabeth Schilling rated it it was amazing
I only read through some of the exercises. Each one is 2-3 pages and helps you shift your thinking and practices of daily living. I think they are really full of truth and can help many people. I even gave some of them to my students and they loved them. I didn't read it all because, well, it is hard to say. Maybe it was not keeping my attention but who can say why? Actually I got it now. This is a great daily text. If I would read just one and only one exercise every morning to think about it, ...more
Jennifer
Need to keep reading. And read again after that. Would LOVE to read this in reading group, tackling one chapter, one exercise at a time.
Unwisely
Aug 10, 2015 Unwisely rated it liked it
This was one of the "further reading" books in one of the Jon Kabat-Zinn books I read, so I didn't know exactly what it was.

It turns out to be a sweet little book of mindfulness practices. I think the intent is to do one per week for a year, not to read the book all in one go. Which is of course how I read it.

I can't speak to the practices, but I bet there's something that will appeal to everyone (some of them even seemed like a good idea to me, who thinks most of that stuff is silly).
AnandaTashie
Aug 31, 2012 AnandaTashie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fic
Divided into 53 tips for mindful living. Each section has: the exercise; reminding yourself; discoveries; deeper lessons; final words. Usually 3 pages for each tip. I read 75 pages in entirety, then just went through and read the exercises.

If you're zen buddhist, then reading everything could possibly quite resonate. If you're like me and don't fall within that label, but enjoy focusing on present-moment awareness, then you may or may not like reading every word. It was more of a "not" for me.
...more
Mary
May 18, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
There are 53 mindfulness exercises in this book, and each one is presented in a multipart format. First you are told what to actually do, then how to remind yourself to do it, then preliminary thoughts on the exercise, then deeper analysis of possible outcomes, then a summary thought. This structured format makes it easy to use the book as a source for adding mindfulness exercises to your daily life. The book also provided a useful introduction to the practice of mindfulness using the training o ...more
Rosa Frei
A wonderful inspiring book, that offers 53 exercises (one for each week) on how to be more mindful. The author, who also wrote the book 'Mindful Eating' takes you on a journey of becoming more aware of your environment and yourself, which ultimately leads to more happiness.
David Rickert
Jan 13, 2014 David Rickert rated it really liked it
I didn't really follow the instructions for the book but found it meaningful nonetheless. What you are supposed to do is follow a mindfulness practice for a week and then return to the book and read about what you can learn from doing it. I wasn't very good at following the tasks (there are some helpful ways to remind you to do them, but I didn't want to fill my house with post-its) and I actually received more benefit from reading the entire chapter first so that you knew what you were supposed ...more
J. Schmidt
Mar 23, 2014 J. Schmidt rated it liked it
This is a nice little book that is very easy to read. There are plenty of exercises on how to live more mindfully and happily. There is nothing really wrong with this book, I only gave it 3*, because, although it was "nice", it was not really "life changing".
Trinity
Mar 03, 2016 Trinity rated it liked it
I read the whole book in one go. It said at the beginning that you should go week by week, but I checked it out of the library, so I did not have 54 weeks in which to read it. I liked a lot of the exercises it recommended and I hope to incorporate some into my daily life.
Linda Watkins
Jul 26, 2015 Linda Watkins rated it really liked it
A pretty good book for those interested in becoming mindful, reducing stress in their lives, etc. It's a good place to start if you are interested in beginning a mindfulness practice.
Paul Hynd
Jan 06, 2016 Paul Hynd rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
Absolutely charming book ... Jan Chozen Bays writes persuasively with lots of great ideas and insights, from real-life experience. Highly recommended!
Adalee Chaffee
Aug 25, 2015 Adalee Chaffee rated it really liked it
reallly reallly important stuff here if you're into mindfulness / meditation practices. everyone should be.
Vinita
Dec 07, 2015 Vinita rated it really liked it
Some really useful mindfulness practices which can be easily incorporated into daily life.
Sarah Easton Miller
May 02, 2016 Sarah Easton Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Great book for practical ways to continue mindfulness as you go about your day.
Stephen Walmsley
Apr 05, 2014 Stephen Walmsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Simple, practical, pick it up once a week and carry a powerful and simple exercise with you all week.
Marilyn Di Carlo-Ames
Because I am mindful I do not need to stick post-it notes all over my house to remember each of the exercises. Constant reference to the author's monastic life also did not enhance the enlightening messages in this book. I enjoy rereading exercises at different points in my year when they appear relevant and very much enjoy the manner in which they enhance my enlightenment! A wise and relevant book that i highly recommend, as it is an easy read, and there is something in it for everyone. This bo ...more
Jmp
Jun 07, 2014 Jmp added it
some really good suggestions for being mindful. some goofy ideas - - maybe they worked for Jan, but not for others of us - - like noticing "filler words".
Bea Elwood
Jul 25, 2011 Bea Elwood rated it liked it
Set up as weekly meditations I read it over the weekend anyway. Some really good insights and beautiful explinations of how mindfulness works in daily practice. You don't have to stress about developing a sitting practice (the silent 30 minute meditation where you meditate on your breathe) to reap the benefits of mindfulness and loving-kindness, you can practice meditation while driving, grocery shopping, eating or answering the phone with these little practices. It was a cute enough book but I ...more
Vladimir
Nov 21, 2013 Vladimir rated it it was ok
Several nice exercises are suggested, but there's too many of them and they quickly become repetitive. Sometimes less IS more. Also, author reveals himself to be an essentialist (when he attacks moral relativism), which is as anti-Buddhist as anything can be. Not recommended for beginners or for longtime practitioners. Perhaps it could be useful for mindfulness teachers (because of the number of described techniques) or for people who are neither new nor experienced with the technique.
Kathleen Brown
Mar 27, 2016 Kathleen Brown rated it it was amazing
Any book that encourages me to be more mindful , I love. This book is simple and gentle in suggesting exercises to practice (one a week) for 52 weeks to increase mindful awareness. From experience, I know that the real reward comes from actually practicing and not just reading about it. This is a book I would like to own. Since it would take me 52 weeks to really follow this book the way the author intended, I can only say I am inspired to begin!
Melissa Michelle
May 23, 2015 Melissa Michelle rated it really liked it
Definitely interesting to read. Didn't have too much time to try all of them. Had fun trying some of them.
Nancy Dardarian
Oct 10, 2012 Nancy Dardarian rated it really liked it


This is a book that should be read over a period of a year so you can practice each suggestion for mindful living. I read it at one go, though, and it still will make me more mindful during my daily life. Suggestions like taking three centering breathes before answering the phone, taking a media break, writing down things you are grateful for at the end of a day and using loving eyes are all good ones. I'll revisit this book often.
Steve
May 24, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
Good ways to be mindful of mindfulness.
Kerri Huff
Jun 27, 2013 Kerri Huff rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
Tips and exercises to practice mindfulness in everyday life. I read through it quickly, since the book was a loaner, and the exercises were simple and easy to implement, with explanations of how they fit into and fulfill basic parts of the mindfulness philosophy. Just eat with no distractions, savor every bite. Listen to the quiet, really listen. Focus on your posture. Etc.
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Free and Open Discussion Forum to Deepen Learning 1 1 Jan 12, 2015 06:22AM  
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