Monday, March 18, 2013

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi

I received Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi as a Christmas gift, but I just did not want to read it.  First, it sounded an awful lot like Stretch, which I already read. Second, I was overdosing on "yoga" reading for my own yoga teacher training and didn't want to add another spoon full. Third, my normal laziness has been elevated to a state of near total torpor lately, possibly as an outgrowth of my new meditation practice.  Yet somehow the reading spirit moved me last week, and I'm glad it did.

Although both are humorous yoga memoirs, Misadventures, by Brian Leaf, is a very different book than Stretch.  Leaf's narrative is organized around his years of self discovery.  He takes his yoga very seriously and by yoga he means the whole lifestyle - not just physical postures but breathing, chanting, meditation, ayurvedic diet and behavior modifications and, most importantly, a relentless search to identify and commune with his own true self.  While he is not a facile wit like Neal Pollack in Stretch, Mr. Leaf has a genuine sense of humor about himself and a flair for presenting his quest with detail and authenticity that sometimes walks the line of new age babble, but rarely crosses it.

Misadventures is a worthwhile read for anyone with any interest in yoga. It's an excellent choice for students in yoga teacher training, a very likable, accessible and personal approach to the yoga terrain that  sometimes seems an arid, scholarly desert in the hands of Iyengar and Feurstein.

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