The Yogini from Manila

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

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I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” book, read it from cover to cover, watched the movie, did my mini version of an Eat Pray Love out of town weekend with a yogini friend, Ria. And once I get over the mound of started-but-still-unfinished books on my night table, I’ll begin reading its sequel book.

But guess what. There’s a male Eat, Pray, Love kind of book just out.

A couple of months ago, a guy named Brian Leaf contacted me. Did I know Brian? No. At least not till he introduced himself to me in his email. As it turns out, Brian is a yogi (a Garden State yogi, to be exact) who is launching his book “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal my Colitis, Calm my ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness” this month. Brian asked if I wanted to check out his book and introduce it to the yoga community here in the Philippines. Of course I said yes.

I’ve began to read Brian’s book and what a hilarious, un-yogi kind of book it is. In just the few pages I’ve read, I’ve broken out laughing at some of his misadventures which he describes with such clarity, you can almost visualize the whole scene. This is definitely not my usual yoga book (and I have quite a number of them on my bookshelf, mostly the theory and practice of yoga) but I am learning that yogis are not just serious practitioners; there is a fun, wacky, spirited side to us. At the same time, Brian touches on health aspects that all of us can relate to.

It’s a true story, written in Brian’s hilariously light writing style. He opens a window into how he signed up for a yoga class back in 1989 (and back then, you were an oddity if you were a man signing up for a yoga class) without knowing what he was really in for. Twenty-three years later, he is a teacher of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda and is the founder of a holistic tutoring center, New Leaf Learning Center, which helps students with ailments similar to his once upon a time. He helps them manage ADD and overcome test and math phobias.

The book is filled with Brian’s adventures and misadventures through a world of yoga and holistic health. He writes about his trips to different yoga studios around the country, recounts a spiritual experience at a Grateful Dead show, and shares how he was cured of his colitis. For a while he also lived at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health as he prepared to be a certified yoga teacher.

The 243-paged book is all of 32 chapters, including the Epilogue, with additional appendices that have a sample yoga practice, sun salutation, meditation, colistening, guided relaxation and ayurvedic recommendations.

Bryan Kest, creator of Power Yoga and who was recently here in the Philippines, was one of many who gave positive feedback on the book. Bryan says: “Reading Brian’s book and seeing how much he has benefitted physically and mentally from his yoga practice not only makes for great reading but will inspire people to begin their own journeys. Great job, Brian!”

Another respected yoga teacher, Leslie Kaminoff (I have his book, Yoga Anatomy) also says: “Brian Leaf’s charming and engaging account of his yogic journey is sure to strike a chord with readers who are embarking on their own adventures toward health and self-discovery.”

Yoga Journal, in its October issue, also wrote a review, saying: “Leaf’s tale unfolds like a trail of delicious bread crumbs leading to the heart of yoga practice…definitely take time to savor Leaf’s brilliant self-inquiry.”

Watch the official trailer:

You can read the first 2 chapters of the book HERE.


Order it from Amazon by clicking link below.

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness


Finally, I hope that our local bookstores get to bring the “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi” to the Philippines. It is a breath of fresh air, a different take compared to the usual books on yoga that are available. As for me, this long 4-day holiday weekend is a good chance to catch up on my yin yoga practice and sit on the mat, reading more of Brian’s funny misadventures, knowing that my journey, like his, can take me through twists and turns but it will eventually bring me to where I need to be.


Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi Video Contest

I was just informed by Brian Leaf himself and his publicist that this contest is open to international yogis/yoginis so I am letting you know about it. Go ahead and video away. Who knows…your yoga video may just win it!


To celebrate the launch of his new book, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, author Brian Leaf is hosting a video contest with the theme “Insightful Yoga Comedy.” Video entries must be related to yoga, funny, insightful, and one to three minutes long.

Each contest entry will be judged according to how well it meets these requirements. The Grand Prize winner will receive $250 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. Two runner-ups will each receive $50 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. Entries are due by January 15, 2013 and must be submitted to


One Grand Prize winner will receive US$250 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi.

Two Runner-Ups will each receive US$50 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi.

The Basics:

Videos must be:

1. One to three minutes in length

2. Generally respectful of others. No videos intended to slander or harm any other person or their public image.

To enter, send a link to your video to along with your name, age, and city of residence (for international entrants, please give your full mailing address). Write “Video Contest” in the email’s subject.

All entries must be received by midnight January 15, 2013 (Eastern Time).

Videos will be judged by Brian Leaf, author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, according to how well they achieve the contest’s themes (related to yoga, funny, insightful).

Winners will be announced on the Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi facebook page,, on Wednesday, February 20th at 3pm Eastern Time.

Must be eighteen years or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Decisions are final.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi by Brian Leaf | The Yogini from Manila

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