Review of ‘Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi’


 “Oskar’s yoga class touched the right chord and made my soul sing.”

At the beginning of his book, that was how Brian Leaf described the first yoga class he took while in college at Georgetown. Many of us who practice yoga know exactly what Brian is describing.  It feels like ‘coming home’.

Throughout his book Brian writes brilliantly as he brings us along for the ride exploring different aspects of yoga, traveling the country, and returning back home again. His sense of humor and honesty contribute to a great read about someone exploring life and yoga (which to me are really one-in-the-same!).

You do not have to be a yoga student to read this book – it’s really about living life, exploring what contributes to personal growth, and what can bring us to our own state of happiness.

The book holds many wonderful stories from his ‘misadventures’ and also includes Brian’s Eight Keys to Happiness.  As a yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer, life/health coach, someone who leads e-courses about Living Life and Making Choices, and someone who is constantly exploring what feeds our soul, I could really relate to Brian’s Eight Keys, which are:

  • Do Yoga.  And if you already do yoga, do more yoga. 
    Thank you for the reminder, Brian, at our yoga community in Concord, New Hampshire, we say – More Yoga GOOD!
  • Follow Your Heart
    Once we start to practice yoga, if we are not following our heart, we will be out of sync with our true nature and as that is revealed, we discover we can no longer do that which does not feed our soul.
  • Cultivate and follow your intuition
    We all have the capacity to do this well. Brian’s chapter ‘White Sands’ ends with suggestions about how to tap into your intuition.  One sentence sums it up: Feel for a sense of ‘rightness’.
  • Apply at least three pieces of Ayurvedic wisdom to your daily schedule.
    A great reminder for me to make an appointment with my friend, Nicole, an Ayurveda practitioner.
  • Meditate.! So, what are you waiting for?  Perhaps you’ll join me, my friend, Cary, and others for Deepak Chopra’s new 21-day Meditation Challenge: Creating Abundance.
  • Connect with your heart and interact with others from that place.
    This requires an awareness of the ego, detaching from outcomes, letting go, and being present.  The words may seem simple, but to do this well – and consistently – it takes practice.  This is yoga – off the mat.
  • Speak and act from your true self.
    Through the practice of yoga and self-awareness, we learn so much about ourselves and why we act and react the way we do.  When we explore our values, how we want to be with others, and what we bring to the world, we are being authentic.
  • Become most real.
    Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi is about Brian’s journey of discovering how to ‘become most real’.  If you follow the other seven keys to happiness, this final ‘key’ will fall into place since you cannot ‘be most real’ without following your heart, cultivating your intuition, connecting with others, and speaking and acting with integrity. Yoga (including Meditation, Pranayama/Breath and other techniques), and its sister science, Ayurveda, are tools to help us discover our true self and create the possibility to understand what makes us happy.

For more information, visit Brian’s website.  You can read Brian’s bio or the first 15 pages of the book, you can learn about Brian’s  video contest, with the theme “Insightful Yoga Comedy”, you can read other reviews, and you can order the book.