The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj

IMG_1734“I see the faces that stop by my cart here. Their smiles are hollow, their eyes are hungry. The yogi’s faces are different. Silent, complete. Like the mountains around them. Asking no questions, seeking no answers, just certain, as though they knew exactly who they were.”

The Yoga of Max’s Discontent is the story of one man’s spiritual journey that takes him from New York to India. Growing up under difficult conditions as a child of Greek immigrants, Max worked hard to achieve success and the ideal life as a Wall Street analyst. With the death of his mother and the growing disillusion with his life, Max embarks on a trip to India.  However, this trip is not as simple or straightforward as Max may have believed and it is one that will test him and change him.

As someone who loves stories about great journeys, personal quests, and self-discovery, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent was one of my most anticipated releases.  While there are some really good aspects to the novel as a whole, it unfortunately fell short of expectations and I couldn’t help but be disappointed.  The positives for me included the descriptions of the different settings and the things Max encountered, in which the author does a wonderful job of bringing these places to life.  I also liked that he differentiated between those who are serious spiritual seekers and those who are just curious, going for a quick fix of spirituality.  It also showcases internal struggle along with outward challenges.

What didn’t work for me was the character of Max who came across as selfish and not very likable, therefore I struggled to connect to him or his journey.  There is not a lot of lead up to his decision to leave his life behind and I did not fully understand his dissatisfaction or internal turmoil.  More of a preamble showing Max’s discontent that led him to embark on his journey would have made his later decisions easier to accept and understand.  While many parts of his experiences are quite interesting, those towards the end of the book became unbelievable along with Max’s abilities.  The lack of connection and understanding of Max as a character definitely clouded his overall journey.

If you enjoy stories of spiritual discovery, I would still recommend you give The Yoga of Max’s Discontent a try.  It is a book many people seem to have enjoyed and connected to. While it turned out to not be for me, it could be something that you may connect to as well.

Do Your Om Thing by Rebecca Pacheco

“Yoga is not useful to a life we should live, in a world we wish we had. It is meant for our lives now in this world, as it is. It is not about manufacturing a utopian existence free of setbacks; it’s about removing obstacles whenever possible and mastering our own attention and perception when it’s not.”

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Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life is a comprehensive guide to yoga and ways in which we can take our practice off the mat and into our daily lives.  It is divided into four sections: Yoga: Ancient and Modern, The Body, The Mind, The Spirit.

The book is well organized and written in a very relatable way.  I enjoyed all the sections and learned a lot from each, particularly The Body and The Mind. There is a lot of information and material out there about yoga, along with quite a few misconceptions.  Do Your Om Thing condenses all that information and addresses the misconceptions, presenting the key aspects of yoga, helpful notes, exercises and their benefits.  Above all, it shows us ways we can adapt the practice to our lives.  I feel this is a great book for anyone looking to deepen their yoga practice and their knowledge.  It is also a great resource for those looking to try yoga but would like a better understanding of the subject.  Do Your Om Thing is an informative and helpful guide.

Favourite quote: “Stop fleeing the moment and your Self in favour of quick comforts. Look inside. Pull up a chair in the quiet room of your own mind and learn to be comfortable there. Find happiness there. If you can’t, you will not find it elsewhere.”

Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

BLOG“Begin where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.”

Rachel Brathen is a yoga teacher and motivational speaker who shares daily messages of inspiration through social media.  In Yoga Girl she takes us through her rebellious teen years, her struggles, how she came to embrace meditation and yoga, and how she was able to make a positive change in her life.  Throughout each chapter are healthy recipes, step by step yoga sequences as well as beautiful photos.

Yoga Girl is an inspirational and uplifting book.  Rachel not only shares her personal story but provides encouragement for others to move past their own struggles.  The main points being to be kind to yourself, find balance in life, trust your journey, and to not let fear hold you back.  The book is engaging, relatable and a really nice read.  The recipes, yoga postures and photos are a great addition and add to the overall message.  The structure of the book was a little awkward in spots where the “loving insights” section was inserted in the middle of the story section, which interrupted the flow of the book.  However, it does not take away from the content in any way.  Yoga Girl is inspirational and visually beautiful.

Favourite quote:  “The thing about life is, you get what you need.  Not what you want.  And everything happens at the right time.”