BY ALANNA ZABEL &
Some of the most lasting childhood memories
are shaped by books. Do you remember that
feeling of awe inspired by a magical tale, or of
being instantly transported to a faraway place
through a vibrant illustration? Hardly a kid, I
felt that childlike sense of wonder while reading Guruji’s Gift, one of four titles in Alanna
Zabel’s collection of children’s books.
Alanna is the founder of AZIAM Yoga,
holds a BA in Psychology and Child Development, and teaches yoga to adults (singer
Adam Levine was a student) as well as kids.
Her discovery tale about Ashtanga Yoga
founder Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois, aka Gu-ruji, depicts his life journey; from practicing
yoga with Sri T. Krishnamacharya, to finding
his bliss through teaching -- and helping others uncover the same.
The beautiful watercolors accompanying the
words are the handiwork of Mary-Margaret
Mitchell—they’re as much a joy to look at as
the story is to read. The detail in the Hindu
iconography of the Ganesha elephant and
Goddess Krishna is wonderful; I found myself
tracing their lines, as if doing so would uncover hidden meaning.
Guruji’s Gift is an evocative way to get kids
(and adults!) interested in the meaning of
yoga. As Alanna wrote in the preface, “If you
give purely from your heart / You will grow
endless fields of flowers.” This little book is a
testament to that.
Reviewed by Marina Chetner, a freelance writer
and Managing Editor of Find Bliss Los Angeles.
MISADVENTURES OF A
PARENTING YOGI /BOOK
BY BRIAN LEAF
NEW WORLD LIBRARY
Having a child means that life as you know
it is over. Or at least that is what parents tell
expecting couples who nod politely, never really knowing what that means until they are
knee deep in dirty diapers, breast milk, and
burp cloths. Even the most conscious yogi is
not immune to the trials of parenthood, least
of all author Brian Leaf, who explores the ins
and outs of co-sleeping, circumcision, and the
art of discipline through unconditional love in
his latest memoir Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi.
The book is as much a primer for new parents seeking alternatives to traditional parenting approaches as it is an amusing journey
through mishaps and tiny victories that only
a caregiver can experience. Leaf dives into the
pros and cons of many decisions facing new
parents. With humor and compassion he explains the choices he and his wife settle on,
inserting insight from various experts.
Leaf explains it best when he says, “Parenting
young children is not unlike serfdom. Except
that you’re madly, wildly in love with your
feudal lords.” Indeed, Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is a chronicle of one man’s Bhakti
yoga practice and the lessons learned along
Reviewed by Jazmine Aluma, who writes, blogs, and
practices yoga in Los Angeles: jazminegreen.com
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