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Reader’s Digest Presents The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide

Follow the Breakthrough Diet On-the-Go!

NEW YORK, NY April 15, 2013 – In the New York Times bestseller The Digest Diet, Liz Vaccariello and the editors of Reader’s Digest sifted through the latest weight-loss science to develop a groundbreaking 21-day eating plan to help readers drop the pounds. Now, Reader’s Digest introduces a practical companion to help you follow the diet while you’re on-the-go, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide, available now for $9.99 at www.rd.com/diningoutguide and wherever books are sold, is an invaluable companion to the Digest Diet, helping you maintain and extend your weight loss results when eating out and in other tricky situations. For newcomers unfamiliar with the Digest Diet, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is an easy introduction and includes a summary of the three phases.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide tells you how to find fat-releasing meals anywhere you might eat on the go, from fast food restaurants to coffee shops to image your favorite sit-down establishments. Restaurants featured include favorites like: McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Panera Bread, Cosi, The Cheesecake Factory, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway and Chipotle, among many others, perfect for days where you do not want or do not have the time to cook at home. Weight loss does not need to be limited to eating at home and the guide is the perfect companion to a delicious and healthy night out at a restaurant.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide includes:

  • More than 350 meals at 60 national fast food and casual dining venues
  • A condensed version of the Digest Diet, summarizing the three phases;
  • Strategies for identifying fat-releasing foods wherever you are;
  • The best choices at different types of restaurants; and
  • New portable snack ideas for when you’re traveling, running errands, or just short on time.

“Every day, I hear from readers who have lost weight and improved their health by following the lifestyle and plan of the Digest Diet,” said author Liz Vaccariello. “As a busy working mom, I know that cooking at home is not always possible. I don’t believe that you should have to give up on dinners out to stay on a diet, and The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a response to that.”

Whether you’re new to the Digest Diet or looking to maintain your fabulous success away from home, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide helps you make the slimming and healthy choices on the go.

LIZ VACCARIELLO is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest, one of the world’s largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she’s the author of New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, Flat Belly Diet!, and The 400-Calorie Fix. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachael Ray, and The View.  Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on rd.com. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc).

About Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products in health, home, family, food, finance and humor.  Recognized by 99% of American adults, Reader’s Digest is available in print; online at ReadersDigest.com; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Sony Reader and Zinio; books and home entertainment products; Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

The above is a press release for The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.  I received a copy of the book for review and was not compensated in any way.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a slim, thin book that can fit in almost any purse.  It contains quick go to sections on popular restaurants.  It is not a calorie counter – it a phase plan where you use restaurant meals and specific food combinations that are “fat releasers”. This means not every meal you might order at your favorite chain restaurant is represented in this guide.  You are given four to five meal options and told how to eat them for each phase of the diet.  I found very few meals I could eat as a vegan included in this book, even though I do eat at a few of the restaurants listed.  For the average American eater though, there should be plenty of options that would allow any individual to utilize this book.  Great for travelers who spend a lot of time away from their home kitchen, and people who like to eat out. Even if your favorite cafe isn’t listed, the beginning of the book goes over some tips for different eating environments.  Definitely a book for people who hate to diet because it means they have to stay home and measure food.

New Pop Culture Yoga Book, Definitely will be chart topper

image I received a review copy of this book, I was not compensated in any way and opinions expressed are my own.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I think you can judge it by its press release.

"Heartbreak Yoga" by Amy V. Dewhurst is The Sex and The City of modern day spirituality. It is a humorous, thought provoking,soul searching exploration of the heart organ, the heart chakra, romantic heartbreak, loss, grief, grace, yoga, meditation, mantra, kirtan, and self-care.

I’m not a sycophant and nor do I care to read their work.

Part memoir, part yoga how-to and part self-help this offering is guaranteed to have you laughing, crying, and contemplating this thing called love.
Heartbreak Yoga Includes;
-A balanced yoga practice for beginners
-Tips on holistic cures for heartbreak, grief and healthy living
-A step-by-step guide to getting over your ex
-Hilarious, sweet and sad anecdotes of romantic heartbreak
-Poignant tales of grief from around the world
-Interviews, quotes and contributions on healing from world religious leaders, renown yoga
instructors, kirtan wallahs, UN relief workers, zen roshi caregivers to the dying, comparative
religion and anthropology scholars, cardiologists, holocaust survivors, toddlers, Oscar,
Emmy and Grammy winners, nominees, and even some well-loved pets

I have also grown sick of the capitalization and monetization of yoga.  Everyone crawls out of the woodwork, from behind the bottle, under the drug haze, you name it to write a book on how yoga changes their lives.  They were famous, they were movers and shakers, they were rich and felt life just wasn’t good enough or enjoyable enough so they found yoga. 

About the Author:
Author, producer, yogini Amy V. Dewhurst learned filmmaking from
legends including; Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Kirsten Sheridan
and Richard B. Lewis. To balance the demands of the fast-paced film
set lifestyle, Dewhurst began a disciplined yoga practice. She has since helmed Sara
Ivanhoe’s, Yoganation; Mariel Hemingway’s M. Hemingway Heritage; and has produced
conscious content for Oasis Television. Amy is a contributing writer for Origin Magazine,
LA Yoga & Ayurveda Magazine, Common Ground Magazine and The Free Venice
Beachhead Newspaper. She is currently writing her first feature film, is in development on
a television pilot showcasing practical philanthropy and produces "the spiritual Woodstock
of the decade" Bhakti Fest.

The sad thing is, I have known yoga for a long time, in my soul.  I enjoy sharing it with others.  I barely scrape by and am in debt because of my love of helping others, often times through the practice of yoga. I’m like the reverse yoga love story and I am quite sick of reading about how everyone is light and love all the time.

Yoga also is about embracing the dark parts of yourself.  There is a truth in the inner darkness and simply shining a high powered flood light on your life does not change that.  You are still the vapid, shallow, trite person you always were – now you just get to throw a prayer shawl over your shoulders when you strut around bathing in self-love.  Trust me, there is enough self adoration going around in the yoga world.

Uh-oh, I’m being a debbie downer, un yogic, what have you – I am speaking my truth because I am fed up and ready to move on.  In the yoga world there is a Catch 22, you can’t call someone out on being fake, on being a money hungry capitalist because then you are being judgmental, un yogic, you name it – its all very political. Seriously – because the ones telling you that you shouldn’t and can’t seem to get caught up in as many sex scandals as those in Washington these days.  I love the idea of the Dalai Lama but be serious for a moment, the man has been in exile for decades with no real end in sight and he is now no more than a pop icon to celebrities who drag him out to show their spiritual sides.

Wow, I have really digressed.  So let me get back to the book – the forward – hated it. The dedication – taking a word or idea like Pranam and belittling the meaning by making it akin to thanking your publicist, models, etc. yeah – you can figure out where I stand on that one – the whole usurping of other cultures for more personal gain and “street cred”. The introduction – LOVED IT! No, seriously.  I know I just slammed a whole lot of things but the intro was well written, engaging and captivating – why, because it was authentic. Then the book lost me again by trying to shove too much down my throat, because in the middle of finding out your mom had a heart attack you definitely think your “ precious law of attraction self” wasn’t sure your subconscious mind created everything. How do I know this? Over a decade teaching and two decades practicing – my son has epilepsy and during a seizure I have never once engaged mula bandha to stop my energy from flowing out my asshole to keep at bay that “I may shit myself with fear” feeling that he could die this time.  Never once in an ER, or in a hospital stay did I consciously say “whatever is best for {his} soul will occur” – oh I prayed – I made deals with anything and anyone not to take my baby from me.  So maybe I am not even on the path to enlightenment but I am present every moment with my children, I relish every whiff of their soft skin, every gentle caress they give me as they fall asleep next to me – to me that is yoga.

The writing just jumps around like a jack russel who hasn’t been outside for a while with terse breakdowns of philosophy, anecdotes, and quotes from
celebs” which seem to be willy nilly thrown in without an overall plan. As if finding out that Mariel Hemingway knows heartbreak is somehow relevant to the average woman – well, maybe the type who likes Sex in the City and I think that is where I will close this review.

This book was obviously not for ME. That does not mean this book is not for YOU. If you like name dropping, if you want yoga tied up into a pretty bow, or a chapter that is merely 4 pages long with psychology stages anyone can Google, this book could be for you.  There are people who prefer RedEye to the Economist.  As I used to argue in philosophy class, if you find enjoyment from mud wrestling it is no less valid a pleasure than someone who finds enjoyment from an opera. If you like to read US, People, and pop culture mags, tabloids what have you – this is YOUR book and I in no way mean this as an insult, I just do not consider this book on par with some of the more serious academic works on the market. That being said, I am 100% sure that this book will be a chart topper.

Most Comprehensive Yoga for Children Book Great for Parents and Teachers

image001 I received a copy of this book for review and was not compensated, all opinions expressed are my own.

Children today are bombarded by stimuli coming from every direction—technology, work duties, and pressure to succeed in every aspect of life—academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Studies have shown that children, like adults, need the time to reconnect and recharge, building the self-awareness and resiliency they need to succeed and be healthy.

Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT, Founder of ChildLight Yoga® and Yoga 4 Classrooms®, has created a helpful resource for educators, parents, and pediatric professionals who wish to give the children in their care the gift of holistic health, through the use of yoga and mindfulness-based tools for living: Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children (Adams Media, an F+W Media company, Spring 2013).

As a long-time yoga practitioner, Founder of Yoga 4 Classrooms®, and a parent herself, Lisa knows firsthand how incorporating yoga into one’s lifestyle can lead to health benefits that go well beyond the physical. “The good news is that yoga overrides the stress response, short circuiting the fight-or-flight hormones. That’s true for both adults and children. When we do yoga, we learn tools for self-regulation and stress resilience as we develop mental and physical focus, strength, balance, flexibility, and overall health.”

I really wasn’t sure that the yoga community needed another children’s yoga book, but I have to admit I loved this book and will be selling several of my other kids’ yoga books and keeping this one instead. Why? First, I am trying to declutter my overall life a very yogic idea but hard to manage in a family of five filled with never ending clutter. Second, we are moving so I have limited myself to one tub of books from my extensive collection so I need to become more discerning with my collection. Third, this book literally combines several of my favorite children’s yoga books in one place, but does so in a new and refreshing way.

The book starts by debunking yoga myths – as is typical of every book – yoga is not a religion, this one I beg to differ on but that is for a time when I can sit down and really delve deep. There is a large amount of type to this book, it is not a picture book but at the same time it is not a dry read. There are great sections on how to get started with little tips like “how to make a no sew eye pillow” that incorporates the idea of upcycling materials to create a whole new and usable product.

The yoga principles are broken down in digestible portions easily explainable to children with suggested readings and books, examples and practices.  There are two wonderful chapters on image003breathwork (pranayama) and meditation for children with actual practices that would work for younger yogis.  The asanas were translated for the most part from Sanskrit, but a few were still made up, I personally prefer to work with the given classical name and maybe a cutesy name in parenthesis. At least the names were cute though.

The chapter with chants and songs was a nice addition especially when well known tunes were referenced for use.  The sequences had bold photos and my overall favorite part were the co-operative team building games.  After a decade teaching I still find it hard to locate team skill, team co-operation building “ropes course” like games.

Truly this a well thought out, well written book aimed at parents but definitely invaluable to teachers looking to utilize yoga in the classroom or studio.

Yoga Wisdom at Work Can Help You Create a More Productive Career

k4716916 I received a review copy of this book, I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are my own.

I honestly did not think I was going to enjoy this book.  It started like every self-indulgent yoga book on the market does, “I was making a ton of money and felt incomplete…I found yoga….I’m writing about my my transformation…you can transform too!”  For once I would like to story of my life to unfold.  I always knew yoga was what I wanted to teach, I taught it and owned a studio for tens years.  I made no money, met some nice people, met some really not nice people, lost a lot of money trying to help people and now I am changing careers. 

Well, you can see I am a little jaded at the moment, but I still opened up the book and read past the introduction which was all that I had feared it would be and I was surprised.  I really enjoyed what I was reading and it made sense. Maren and Jamie Showkeir’s book brings into focus yoga’s rich, transformational benefits. Based on the traditional Eight Limbs of Yoga it offers straightforward, practical suggestions on how to integrate yoga’s ancient philosophy and beautiful spiritual principles into the modern workplace.

The Showkeirs know firsthand how yoga’s wisdom can make work—and life—more rewarding and worthwhile. They explain each of yoga’s tenets and show how a broad, steadfast practice leads to a productive, creative, and energizing work environment. The book offers illuminating stories from people in professions such as banking, law enforcement, film directing, education, and more. These living examples illustrate how yoga’s teachings reduce stress and increase meaning and satisfaction at work, they are also just what I personally love.  I like a little voyeurism, a peek into someone else’s life when I read.  The stories hit home, they make the process seem more real and meaningful, they do their job.

The Showkeirs believe passionately that a physical practice alone will barely scratch the surface of yoga’s transformative powers. Much more than a simple how-to book, Yoga Wisdom at Work is an invitation to use the Eight Limbs to cultivate the spark of the divine that dwells within each of us. Yoga’s precepts offer you the keys for staying centered, compassionate, positive, and sane every hour of the day—including from nine to five. This is a big divergence from most books that deal only with the physical practice of yoga.  As a yoga teacher I can attest that most individuals want to focus on the physical asanas, barely scraping the surface of the real meaning and power of yoga.  This book definitely delves deeper.  It doesn’t give you a list of asanas to perform, it challenges you to create a more flexible mind and to open up to new ways of thinking.

Insights revealed in Yoga Wisdom at Work:
·      Practicing the precepts contained within yoga’s First Limb have a direct influence on your chances for succeeding at work: non-violence, non-lying, non-squandering of vital energies and non-greed.
·      Practicing influences how you treat others at work. For example, practicing non-violence (ahimsa) increases awareness of destructive behaviors like gossip, manipulation, lack of compassion for your coworkers. It also helps you spot more subtle forms of disrespect, such as ignoring people you don’t like, shutting down others’ ideas, or making decisions that affect the jobs and lives of others without their input.
·      Satya, the non-lying precept, is the foundation of trust. Practicing satya includes speaking up and contributing your ideas and concerns about work decisions to contribute to business u26950682 success. 

·      Dealing with resistance is one way to practice of ishvara-pranidhana—it will help you align your actions with what is best for the business rather than focus only on what is good for your career, your team, your department.
·      Learning to harness the power of your breath through the yoga practice of pranayama can create clarity and focus, boost your energy when it’s flagging, or calm you down when situations get heated.
Maren Showkeir and Jamie Showkeir are the principals of henning-showkeir & associates, inc., a workplace consulting firm. Maren, a certified yoga teacher, has been a committed practitioner for more than fifteen years. Jamie is a longtime meditator and developed an asana practice in 2005. They are the coauthors of Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment.

Publication date: May 2013, $15.95, paperback, 192 pages, 5½" x 8½", ISBN 978-1-60994-797-2
PDF ebook, ISBN 978-1-60994-8

Childcare Workers, Parents, Teachers Creative Yoga for Children can Help get Kids Active

image I started my yoga career as a children’s yoga teacher, after leaving the academic teaching world behind.  Over the years I have taught yoga to children in varied environments and have often times considered the undertaking of writing a book outlining lesson plans.  With this background I was excited to be offered a review copy of Creative Yoga for Children by Adrienne Rawlinson.

If you were not aware, a recent study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improves students’ behavior, physical health, academic performance, and attitudes toward themselves. A perfect resource for schools seeking to incorporate yoga and mindfulness programs into their curriculum, or for parents to encourage body-mind awareness at home, Creative Yoga for Children promotes physical, emotional, and social development through stress reduction, movement, and free exploration.
Montessori and registered yoga teacher Adrienne Rawlinson presents forty one-hour lessons in a fun, accessible fashion to allow children ages 4–12 to learn at their own pace and in a cross-curriculum fashion. Activities are broken down by age categories, and each includes setting an intention, physical warm-ups, breath work, specific yoga poses, meditation and gratitude exercises, and more.

This book is a cornucopia of ideas and I love the variety of lesson plans given.  I especially appreciate the objectives (intention) and educational elements sections as a teacher.  Although many of my classes are taught without these, when I teach in environments that receive federal money for education programming many of them require objectives and educational elements to be outlined.  Truly, even with my decade of experience teaching yoga I could not have written a more complete book.  Many of the lessons were similar to ones I myself already teach, but there were definitely some new ones I had not thought of and elements added in that I have not explored, such as using “cardboard letters” in a 4-6 year old lesson on words and sounds.  For those new to teaching yoga, or new to working with kids the developmental breakdowns are definitely useful.  There is nothing worse than showing up to a class expecting 12 year olds to moo and meow with you through cow and cat pose and get a sea of blank (or even worse horrified) pre-teen faces staring back at you from their mats.

Q. Your book is broken down into three age groups (4–6, 7–9, 10–12). What is the significance of starting at age 4? Is there a benefit to starting earlier or is this the earliest age for kids to become actively engaged with yoga?

A. The program offered in my book is quite structured and I have observed that children under the age of four benefit more from a yoga routine that is more playful, and they are developmentally often not ready for a structured one hour class. However, they are not too young to be introduced to the world of yoga. I have two and a half year olds in my Montessori class who love to do a few minutes of yoga every day, choosing pose cards from a basket to do on a mat by themselves or with a friend. Babies and toddlers can reap the benefits of yoga and there are many age appropriate
programs out there. Setting the stage for a lifetime of yoga benefits really starts at birth.

The Appendixes provide a list of books to use, craft idea, photos of partner poses, and then a list of poses broken down into groupings (such as mammals, sea life, etc). Here is where I always break away from authors, especially of children’s yoga books.  Almost all of the asanas are already named after animals or their movement.  The tale being that the yogic sages observed nature around them and this is how the poses were named (ie: downward dog, peacock, cobra).  For preservation and integrity purposes (both culture and physiological) I see no reason to create new names for poses, or rename poses that already have an apropos name. This is just a pet peeve of mine and by no way should it keep readers from purchasing this outstanding book.

Rawlinson provides a wonderful backdrop for teachers and parents to create their own fun and integrative yoga practice for the children in their lives.  But what if you are afraid of the chaos that could ensue after starting this undertaking? The author provides a great bit of sound advice, so now there is no reason to fail to introduce the children in your life to yoga!

Q. How do you bring focus back when kids get distracted in class?

A. The children sometimes get very boisterous and silly when doing some of the group activities and games, so it is important that I have an effective way of bringing them back to center and calm them, so they are ready for the next part of the class. I usually introduce chimes, a Tibetan singing bowl, or a special gong of some sort at the beginning of class. I ring it to let them know that they should come back to their mats, sit in their favorite sitting pose, and get ready to listen. They are generally wonderful at responding to this.

About the Author:
A graduate of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Adrienne Rawlinson is a certified Montessori teacher and registered
yoga teacher. She studied yoga under Maureen Rae in Toronto and Erich Schiffmann in Chicago. Knowing that she wanted to
offer the gift of yoga to children, she put together her program, drawing from her yoga and Montessori teaching experience, and
she began offering afterschool and weekend workshops to children in her area. She currently teaches Montessori and yoga in
Oakville, Ontario.

I received no compensation for this post, the opinions expressed are my own, some material was provided by a third party.

Ultimate Obstacle Race Training is Available Crush the Competition

image Does scaling a wall entice you? Ever wanted to be on TV? Well, you may not be the next hero in an action movie but the chance to finish an obstacle race is within your grasp.  I was recently sent Brett Stewart’s Ultimate Obstacle Race Training and did a little research online.  Obstacle races are becoming the trendiest new training craze and you can take the challenge to television with Hard Charge Televised Obstacle Mission.  So how can you assure yourself a victory and possibly the limelight?  Pick up Stewart’s new book that will give you the tips and training to crush the world’s toughest courses.

Included in this well outlined book are Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Savage Race to name a few. Get registered soon and grab a copy of the training guide, these races are become very popular and the So Cal January race, the Super Spartan, is 90% full.  Just like Stewart’s book, these races are not limited to adults only.  Spartan lures in the whole family with SpartanKids.com and there is a section in Ultimate Obstacle Race Training geared towards the knee biter set.

Among the topics covered are a gear guide to let you know what you need most to compete, a list of the most well known races and pertinent information about them, course descriptions, and the CRUSH IT Program.  There is also a training guide complete with photos of major obstacles to get you ready to leap over walls, slosh up mud slopes and zig zag from zombies. I have reviewed several of Stewart’s other books and training guides and this one is true to his no nonsense approach to organizing and writing.  It is clear and concise and if you are up to the task, you can tackle any obstacle race. Looking for some of the best races? Look no further than this article that has compiled some of the top races, many are featured in the book. http://www.obstacleracers.com/rankings/


I received no compensation for this review and the opinions expressed are my own

#Dogs of #War #AmericanHistory of Powerful Pets @skyyogastudio .com

"Dogs of War", Kathleen Kinsolving. Author Profile and Information, Click Here: http://wndbooks.wnd.com/dogs-of-war/

WASHINGTON – As the 75th anniversary of World War II approaches, a new book reveals the hidden history of some of America’s most powerful leaders.  Amazingly, it exposes the unknown backroom drama of Western Civilization’s darkest hour through an unlikely source – the faithful pets of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General George S. Patton, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"Dogs of War" (Release date:  November 6, 2012) tells the story of Fala, President Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier; Willie, General Patton’s Bull Terrier; and Telek, General Eisenhower’s Scottie.  Incredibly, these three canines had a huge impact on world history through their constant companionship with their powerful masters.
President Roosevelt’s Fala become a media sensation and was actually used to boost morale on the home front during World War II, even "serving" as an honorary private.  He was portrayed in films, his name was used as a password by American soldiers, and he was even became the subject of political controversy between Republicans and Democrats.
General Patton’s wartime comrade Willie was his constant companion during fierce fighting.  He only survived the war because he fatefully was separated from his owner when General Patton died in a tragic automobile accident after the war.
Finally there’s Telek, General Eisenhower’s and Kay Summersby’s treasured Scottie.  Scottie helped ignite the most famous love story of World War II, an affair that is still fiercely debated by historians to this day.  After the general’s death, Kay Summersby was allowed to keep the dog.  "Dogs of War" provides an intriguing look at one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II and is sure to add fuel to the continuing controversy about the relationship between the general and his wartime chauffeur.
"Dogs of War" is a touching story at the unconditional love between men and their pets as well as a fascinating glimpse of America’s most legendary political and military leaders.

ABOUT : Kathleen Kinsolving has been a lifetime supporter of a variety of canine organizations, which includes volunteering as a puppy socializer for Guide Dogs for the Blind, based in Marin County, CA.  Kathleen also teaches English and journalism at Centreville High School in Clifton, VA, and in 2010, penned her father’s biography, "Gadfly: The Life and Times of Les Kinsolving – White House Watchdog" for WND Books.

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi Keys to Happiness @skyyogastudio.com

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi

By Brian Leaf

During my first two years studying at Georgetown University, I realized how deeply stressed I was, and that though I knew how to get As, I knew little about how to be comfortable, relaxed, and happy. I wanted desperately to feel more at ease. I wanted to feel more loving and more free-spirited. So I started doing experiments to learn how to live.

In one experiment I decided to follow my urges and whims exclusively. I imagined that if I studied when I felt like studying, I’d be most productive at those times, and that if I felt like hanging out with friends or working out, I should do those things then, when my intention was strongest.

I think there’s really something to this. And I see now that this has always been my foundational practice: trusting in the intelligence of true desire, authentic intuition, and flowing energy. This practice has influenced my biggest decisions, informed my professional life, and eventually led me to Kripalu yoga.

But unfortunately, that particular experiment failed . . . quite miserably. After three weeks, I awoke one morning (severely behind on reading and writing for my classes), wearing the same clothes that I had been in for several days, with vomit on my shirt where a woman had puked on me the night before, and with a sprained ankle from earlier that same night when she and I had jumped a fence so we could hook up on the fifty yard line of the Georgetown football field.

I needed some discipline and some honing of my intuition before I could completely release to the flow.

For the decade following that project, I explored, I traveled, I trained, and I experimented. I searched for ways to feel comfortable and happy. I consulted psychics, scientists, yogis, swamis, Ayurvedic physicians, life coaches, and even (accidentally, I assure you) a prostitute. I tried meditation, herbs, flower essences, psychotherapy, and shouting out my angst. I almost tried sesame oil enemas, walking on hot coals, and urine therapy (the daily practice of drinking one’s own midstream morning urine).

And I learned a lot.

From yoga, I learned how to stand and how to breathe.

From yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda, I learned how to eat, how to poop, and how to sleep.

From meditation and Kripalu yoga, I learned to awaken my feelings and my intuition.

And from Jerry Garcia, Misha the yogi, and a scary shaman named Genevieve, I learned to emote, to connect, and to love.

During this journey, I found eight Keys to Happiness, eight rules to live by for health and vitality. Eight principles, each powerful in its own right, but the first seven all trumped by the final and eighth key.

And with these keys, I healed my colitis, calmed my ADD, ignited my intuition, and opened my heart. And, luckily for me, without a single sesame-oil enema, without walking on hot coals, and without sipping even one Dixie Cup of my own morning urine, I learned how to feel more comfortable, more authentic, more relaxed, and happier.

The following are six of the eight Keys to Happiness:

#1. Do yoga. And if you already do yoga, do more yoga.

#2. Follow your heart.

#3. Follow your intuition.

#4. Meditate daily.

#5. Connect with your heart, and interact with others from that place.

#6. Speak and act from your true self.

You can try an experiment. Select just one of these Keys to Happiness, whichever one jumps out at you, and follow it religiously for three days. Even after three days, you will experience greater vitality, better health, and increased happiness. Let us know what happens at www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.

Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.

Adapted from the new book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com