Entertaining Yoga Reads
Yoga has become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the last decade. One estimate I found on the Web said that one in ten Americans now practices yoga, and a whopping $6 billion was spent on yoga products in the last year alone! So it stands to reason that yoga books would proliferate. Having practiced yoga for about four years now, I pick up a yoga book from time to time, either fiction or non-fiction. Some have been life-changing; others merely entertaining. Whether or not you’re a student of yoga, here are some books that will take you into the philosophy of yoga while engaging you with drama and humor.
Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer
Dederer’s book is part memoir, part reflection on yoga. Her writing is direct and often laugh-out-loud funny, with prescient observations not only of the Seattle culture she lives in, but of the teachers and other yoga students she comes across. Her description of the hippie Seattle world of her childhood is fascinating, perhaps because it is so foreign to my Midwestern upbringing. Her mother, swept up in women’s liberation, separated from her father and moved in with a younger man, but never actually divorced Claire’s father. The lasting impact of her mother’s decisions haunts Claire throughout her life, and is one of the primary issues she attempts to deal with through her yoga practice.
The discussion of yoga was what made this book great. Dederer writes about yoga in a way that is humorous and detached enough for anyone to enjoy. I cheered for her when she triumphed over hanumanasana (otherwise known as the splits, a pose I’ve not even gotten close to achieving yet). Mostly, I was inspired by the real impact yoga has on her life. Here’s a quote I loved: “What yoga seemed to be teaching me was this: Who cares? Who cares about goodness? Who even cares how it looks? There’s only this: a woman in a heap on the floor. No one ever said reality was going to be dignified.” Words to live by.
Tales from the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell
This heart-warming chick-lit tale revolves around a Los Angeles yoga studio owner and four of her students as they struggle to make sense of their professional and personal lives. Besides offering a window into the L.A. yoga culture, it demonstrates how a yoga studio can be a supportive community unto itself. Lee, the main character, offers spiritual wisdom that benefits her yoga students but that also can be helpful and revealing for the reader. Mitchell does a good job explaining yoga positions and names, so the book is accessible to everyone. Overall, this book is an entertaining introduction to yoga and a fun read.
Other yoga titles on my reading list:
Fear and Yoga in New Jersey by Debra Galant
Enlightenment for Idiots by Ann Cushman
Lucky Everyday by Bapsy Jain
-- Andrea Larson