Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poser Ambitions

I had forgotten that I had a book tucked under my arm until Brandi asked me what I was reading. I showed her the cover and she almost flinched. Is it self-serving?, she wanted to know. I told her that there was a point that if I heard co-op etc. one more time, that I was going to put the book down. In addition, Dederer also dabbles in a bit of self-deprecation about being "educated, white, liberal and well-intentioned."

Brandi told me that she was reading Half Broke Horses and that it was pretty good. Poser, I said, grew on me. Brandi said she doesn't have that much patience. If a book doesn't win her over in 40 pages, she's outta there...

After the book grew on me, I settled in and enjoyed reading about Dederer, her career, family and childhood which she usually explored in five Child's Pose chapters.

Perhaps because her parents are writers, Dederer's young daughter Lucy has a way with words. After the family moves from Seattle to Colorado, Lucy has a rough day at school and tells her mom:

Thank goodness you're so big. That way I fit into your lap. (252)
I think I feel the same way that Dederer does about yoga at home.
Home practice sucked. The gestures and movements that were so thrilling in class seemed flat and dull when done at home alone. In class, tension hummed in the room as bodies moved in and out of shaped, failed, succeeded, breathed. There was a feeling that you were participating in a very slow but very real transformation. At home, the same movements became mere stretching exercises -- the boring part of PE. (261-262)
At one point, Dederer shows her friend, Lisa, the handstand that she has been working on for a quite a while and Lisa, without any hesitation, kicks up into a handstand and, later on, completely immerses herself in yoga. Dederer writes: She had turned into a human parlor trick. (150)

I can relate to Lisa (not the parlor trick part) which is why I'm on my third book about yoga. Yesterday, when I went to yoga, I, first, did my best not to look in Dana's direction until after class and, after class, she told me that she did everything to avoid my eyes during a spinal twist. Of course, the woman next to me, Dee, was funny too. She breathes heavily as if she is dispensing with loads of tension and she also finds my muttering (while trying to do a really splity pose) amusing.

This passage also rang true:
People think yoga is boring. This is one of the big raps against it. And it is, if you're not concentrating. If you fling yourself into the pose, and let your mind wander, and merely tolerate the experience, yoga is, in fact, extremely boring. But if you concentrate hard, boredom opens up and the pose becomes the most interesting thing on earth, in fact the only thing on earth. The more you practice dharana, the simpler the world gets. There's just you and the thing on which you are bending your attention. (152)
If nothing else, after yoga, I feel like my body has gone from constricted to pliable. It's even more transformative than that; I feel as if I were blown glass -- heated and twisted. More viable.


  1. Interesting. I've only done yoga at home (you know how unsocial I am) but perhaps there is something important about doing it in a group...

  2. It's hard for me to believe that you're unsocial... ;)

    I think the energy of a group does make a difference. The sub that we had asked us to put our heads toward the center of the room during one point in the program and our regular teacher always makes sure that everyone is facing towards the center -- especially when we end and say "Namaste."