Oct 17, 2012

Book Review: Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf

Title: Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness by Brian Leaf
Published October 9, 2012; New World Library
Genre: yoga memoir

I don't have colitis and don't think I have ADD, but  I often forget where I put my keys, purse, current book, and sometimes even my shoes. This is not to say I am always a scatter brain, but I have my moments.

This book did tell me a little more than I already knew about yoga basics, and it did give me very practical tips for getting through daily life without anxiety. Here is an example: If I make a list of all the things I want to do during the day and follow it, that will avoid any frantic activity on my part about what I should do next among all the things I want to do in life. A list will narrow down what I can choose to do in that one day. Whew!

Next, advice on how to live in the moment so I don't worry about the past and agonize over the future was a big help for me. For meditation, the techniques are simple - if your mind wanders, simply count breaths, or try to feel the breath passing back and forth between your nose and lip. That will focus your attention for sure,  and keep you in the present. Brian also found out his inner feelings through meditation. A great big plus for the practice of yoga. What I learned: if you don't really know what you want to do in a situation, meditate on it.

If not meditating and you are still in a tizzy, you can simply ask yourself, "What is most real?" in that moment. Focus on what you are doing, feeling and experiencing. It could be as simple as saying to yourself, "I am walking; I am eating an apple; I hear a car door closing; children are shouting in the street." That focus will keep you in the present and out of trouble with the past and the future, for sure.

Of course, there is much, much more to this book....and I have simplified and shortened everything as well as put my own spin on it, commenting on what I found most useful. Brian Leaf says it much better than I can ever hope to, as he has been perfecting and working on mastering these for years. Want to know more? Read the book. You will also find out what Brian had to cope with and how he managed to do it with the help of yoga.

There is a sample yoga practice, plus meditation and relaxation techniques, and an Ayurvedic Constitutional Survey in the back of the book.

About the author: Brian Leaf is the owner and director of the New Leaf Learning Center in Massachusetts. He has studied, practiced, and taught yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda for 23 years. Information: www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com

I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds like a book I'd also enjoy (and get some ideas from), Harvee. Very nice review!

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  2. I would love to read this one and learn from it too, because I often have trouble with living in the moment and sometimes life gets the better of me. I need to look for this one when I can. It sounds really helpful. Great review today!

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  3. I'm filled with anxiety on a daily basis. Maybe that's why I keep feeling drawn to meditation and yoga? I need to read this book!!

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  4. I have Crohn's disease (similar to colitis) and I love yoga. I'm going to have to get this book - thanks for the review!

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  5. This sounds like a great one! I enjoy yoga.
    I was so frazzled that yesterday I couldn't find my cell phone and when I did finally find it, it was in the fridge at work along with my lunch :P I think this book might help me...lol.

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  6. I was a bit skeptical the first time you mentioned this book on your blog, but it seems that I judged too soon. It's still not a book I'd pick up as a yogi, but its accessibility makes it a good book to start one's yoga adventure with.

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