Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 12, 2011

Celebrating The RelaxAbility Handbook

Jessica Sarfaraz Berger was my friend before I took some of her yoga classes, so I wasn’t surprised by her positive and gentle approach to calmness and fitness. Now she’s put some of what she’s learned in twenty-five years of helping people feel better as a registered nurse, a personal fitness instructor, and teacher of yoga and dance into a book called The RelaxAbility Handbook: 66 Easy-to-Use Stress Reduction Techniques for All Walks of Life.

In a party to celebrate the launch of a book she not only wrote but published herself, with the help of some friends and especially her husband, Dan Berger, there was a lot of laughter.  Here's Jess (on the right) with big-hearted hosts, Aaron and Debra Vega who oversee and teach at Vega Yoga studio in Holyoke, MA. (and if you click on the photo, you can see Dan beside Jess. Sorry about that, Dan; the formatting gods are eluding me today.)

There are short, clear methods to reduce stress quickly. Some techniques draw more from the mind, some from imagination, and some from the body. Some seem serious and some are designed to elicit that wonderful stress relief of laughter. Jess offers ways to cope with insomnia, pain, chronic anxiety as well as daily sorts of stress through doing simple exercises (I’m a fan of Legs Up the Wall), making art, doing meditation, breathing techniques, or chanting: Jess mentions Om, but also Yum. Really there’s something for everyone. Jess suggests that those who think they’ll never repeat a mantra may be doing it all the time, and it’s often a negative one about who we are that was slipped or kind of stabbed into our minds at childhood. Jess sometimes introduces exercises with examples from her life, and mentions a sad lie that she carried around for years. Much better to go with Om, Yum, or Jai!  Or get together with friends.

It was fun to meet people who inspired Jess, as she inspires and cheers so many. For book or cd ordering information, please click here.   



  1. This sounds like a perfect book! Thanks for sharing! And congratulations to your friend!

  2. What an interesting idea — I’m going to have to look for this (probably in the library, at least to begin with) 🙂

  3. The book is so manageable and inspiring, I think many will find it useful. Thanks for sending the congratulations. You know how much work goes behind a book!

  4. Thanks! Jess published this book herself, so at least for now it will probably mostly be available online or through places where she teaches. But it will be great if some libraries choose to order it, as it’s the kind of book so many can benefit from.

  5. “Om but also Yum” … wise words! And what a wonderful idea for a book. I did yoga today for the first time in ages, and I can feel what a difference it’s made.

  6. Yes, ma’am. Legs up the wall works wonders. Sounds like a good book.

  7. Amy, happy you’re doing yoga and feeling a difference.
    And, Dori, so glad you know the joy of legs up the wall. Ah, just saying it makes me feel more relaxed.

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