Leaf (Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, 2016, etc.) offers an eclectic collection of prompts designed to inspire and energize yoga practitioners.
These suggestions cover a range of themes, including not only yoga exercises, but also writing assignments, drawing and coloring activities, and various checklists. In more general prompts, Leaf asks readers perform tasks that seem intended to promote mindfulness in daily life: “Set a timer and spend 3 minutes without talking, looking into the eyes of a friend or partner. How do you feel afterward?” Some are meant to be accomplished in the moment, others during the course of a day or over a longer period of time. The writing exercises ask readers to complete a sentence (such as “I have known for a while now that it is time for me to”), write a list, or answer a question. The blank space provided for the reader, though, seems excessive at times, leaving the book as a whole feeling unfinished. Some prompts ask readers to contemplate his or her answers during their yoga practice and to write a response after completing it. Although only a handful of suggestions specifically call for drawing or coloring, the black-and-white illustrations on other pages call out for readers to color them, too. Overall, though, the quality of the various prompts seems uneven. For instance, some outline a well-defined, actionable task, while others are more indistinct, muddying their goals (such as “Faith is an act of great will. Practice constantly”). Leaf includes many prompts by other authors and yoga practitioners, including well-known names, such as actress Mayim Bialik. These guest-written prompts comprise the most substantial part of the book, providing explicit, practical activities and questions. Also, many pages seem designed to reflect its prompt’s spirit with playful formatting, such as a slanted paragraph structure on a page that encourages readers to “balance this book on your head during tadasana (mountain posture) today.”
An earnest attempt at providing constructive advice, but its filler intrudes on its more engaging content.