I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Ally Ford about her new children’s book called Garuda: The Eagle Who Soared with Ahimsa.
She is also looking to give away a signed copy of this book and the soon forthcoming DVD to one lucky reader! This giveaway has since ended.
If you are into acts of kindness, paying it forward, yoga, or just having an open mind towards others and want your students, kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews to do the same, then this book and this post is for you.
Let’s see what Ally had to say!
1. SHG: What made you want to write a children’s book?
Ally: I always loved to write and read children’s books, especially the books that had important life lessons.
It all began as a bedtime story for my own children when they were very young. When they got a little older I acted out the yoga moves from the book at their elementary school with the kids. I received great feedback from the parents and teachers because the children responded very well. I decided to write down everything I did – not really expecting anything in return.
It took me some time to put everything together, but I looked at it as a labor of love. I think that’s important to always remember the pure intention of why we do things so that the motivation behind it doesn’t become clouded.
2. SHG: Why did you pick an eagle? Why did you give it the name Garuda? What does Ahimsa mean?
Ally: As an animal lover, all the animals in the story are modeled after animals I’ve known and loved throughout my life and that are near and dear to my heart. My great grandmother was Cherokee Native American and the bald eagle is the sacred bird of the Cherokee. It was also my mom’s and my favorite bird as well.
The entire story can be acted out in a yoga class for kids and eagle pose is called Garudasana, named after Garuda, a character from Indian mythology.
The eagle also worked well with this story because they typically eat other animals and in this story the eagle decides not to eat other animals and instead practices Ahimsa, which means ‘non-harming’. He instead goes on a quest to find friendship.
3. SHG: Do you have to be a dedicated yogi to buy this book?
Ally: While the book is based on an important lesson from yoga, its message is universal. It can be enjoyed by all children and their caregivers. I’ve had many people that don’t practice yoga read the book and they’ve really enjoyed both the story and the fun, whimsical illustrations.
Of course, the people who do practice yoga enjoy it as well. I’ve had parents sharing the story with their own children or friends, aunts, uncles, godparents, grandparents, sisters, or brothers sharing it as a gift to the children in their lives.
I’ve also had both classroom teachers and yoga teachers share the story with their students. They would begin by reading it, then acting out the story in the class.
For anyone not familiar with the yoga poses that are mentioned in the story, they are modeled in the back of the book by my own children. This makes it really fun for the little ones! I have also recorded the class that goes with the book for people to follow along with that. This is the forthcoming DVD that will be available very soon via my website.
4. SHG: What is the main take home message of the book?
Ally: The main take home message of the book is Ahimsa – how to treat others with non harming or non violence – in other words how to treat others with loving kindness. The book also provides the opportunity to discuss other important life lessons like having preconceived notions or not judging a book by its cover. For example, an eagle would normally harm other animals, but in the book the eagle ends up just trying to be friends with the other animals.
Another important message to share with children is how to be open minded with others. After all the animals become friends this gives another opportunity to discuss what true friendship really is as well as the true source of joy.
Yoga teaches true joy is born in our hearts. The book ends with a special quote that’s inspired by yoga practice and basically says that if we treat others with kindness not only will they be happy and experience less suffering, that also so shall we.
Ally Ford is a dedicated yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher, holistic health and wellness advocate and speaker, Earth enthusiast, travel junkie, and busy mommy and wife hoping to spread good vibes and inspire others to overcome suffering by taking charge of their health. She is committed to helping others incorporate mindfulness techniques to manage the stresses of daily work and life and achieve a deeper overall sense of health and peace. Visit www.allyford.com for more information and to purchase the book.
To enter for a chance to win a signed copy of the book and the DVD, log in to Rafflecopter below (or create an account). Then follow the instructions (next to the +1) to create your entry.
The winner will be announced approximately 9am EST on November 20. Winners are chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter.
Congratulations Dominique! Please check your email so we can send you your prize!