*Note: the author received this book for free in return to review the said offering. That said, she says what she wants—good or bad, happy or sad.
Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi is Brian Leaf’s personal journey to peace and happiness through yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and mung beans.
The book is a lighthearted look at how he has struggled with many of the issues we all face such as, dealing with anger, digestive problems and concentration (in Leaf’s case, colitis and ADD).
Part of the narrative is a road trip Leaf took with his brother, on a quest to find the right style of yoga for him. There is no perfect style of yoga, just one which is more suited to you as an individual. Leaf settled on Kripalu, but talks about his doubts about it in the beginning.
His method for treating his colitis is pretty inspiring for anyone struggling with a health problem. He outlines how he used yoga as medication for his problem, doing sun salutations and deep relaxation five times a day, every day.
I really identified with this myself, as I have found that in times when I practice less yoga, my health problems flare up.
The second part of the book is more about his extensive training in yoga teaching, Ayurveda and meditation. I found it refreshing to read about his struggles with anger, as this is not commonly something that is talked about. Leaf describes (in his own inimitable style, of course) how he had an anger mattress for six months and how beating the crap out of it helped him release that anger.
While Leaf doesn’t mention the “B” word, many of the mindfulness techniques he refers to and has found helpful come from Buddhism. He makes a good case for applying them simply in everyday life. Top marks also for the quiz at the back to work out your Ayurvedic dosha or constitution. I am already putting in to practice some of his recommendations for my vata imbalance.
A humorous and honest book about the struggles to find and stay on the mindful path to happiness.
Three things to try that will increase happiness:
1. Live mindfully.
2. Do yoga and meditate.
3. Apply some principles of Ayurveda to your life.
Michelle Teasdale is a freelance journalist with an interest in complementary health, yoga , families and Buddhism. She also runs a website for creative writers at and tweets. She lives in London, UK with her family.
Editor: Olga Feingold
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