Book Review: 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 (New World Library, Novato, California; 2012)
This is a delightfully written book, impossible to put down once begun and filled to the brim with the author's insightful yet humor-filled accounts of his journey from benighted, neurosis-ridden college student in search of a path to the soul he is today. Along the way, he encounters, teaches, struggles with, learns from and comes to lovingly appreciate the many colorful and compelling personalities that populate the world of yoga - and the even more compelling life lessons they have to impart.
Subtitled "My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness" Misadventures is actually two books in one: part spiritual autobiography and memoir, part self-help guide.
Leaf tells readers the story of his discovery of yoga as a college elective, a class in which he is the sole, miserably uncomfortable male (this was 1989 after all). After signing up for the class on a whim he was dumbstruck to realize that it was after only a short while that a bout of severe colitis, which had threatened to interrupt his academic career, was cured, ostensibly by his new-found practice of yoga. Thus were the author's eyes opened to the many physical and psychological (and spiritual) benefits of the practice of yoga and of its sister science, Ayurveda.
This is a lovely, enjoyable, delicious book - a delight to read on many different levels - and I recommend it to everyone: not only yogis and yoginis - seriously interested in improving their lives and discerning their true wills. I hope that we will soon see more of this kind of writing from Brian Leaf.
Brian Leaf is the author of eleven books and is Director of the New Leaf Learning Center in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he has helped thousands of students manage ADD and overcome test anxiety and math phobias. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1993 with a B.A. earned a Master degree from Boston's Lesley College specializing in yoga and Ayurveda for Attention Deficit Disorder. He is certified as a yoga instructor, Ayurvedic practitioner, massage therapist, energy-worker, and holistic educator and is an accomplished meditator. He has also skilled in Bach Flower Essence therapy, Cranio-Sacral therapy, Reiki, Shiatsu, and Tai Chi.
In addition to his many other achievements, he is also an alumnus of the Starseed Center for Yoga in Montclair, New Jersey, on whose staff this reviewer served as an administrator and teacher for over a decade (the "Garden State" locale in the book's title).
Review provided by William Courson, BVSA, D. Ayur., an Ayurvedic Practitioner, faculty member and the College Dean of Institutional Development at Sai Ayurvedic College & Ayurvedic Wellness Center.