Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

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Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

by Claire Dederer

Farrar, Straus And Giroux | October 30, 2012 | Hardcover

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The studio was decorated in the style of Don't Be Afraid, We're Not a Cult. All was white and blond and clean, as though the room had been designed for surgery, or Swedish people. The only spot of color came from the Tibetan prayer flags strung over the doorway into the studio. In flagrant defiance of my longtime policy of never entering a structure adorned with Tibetan prayer flags, I removed my shoes, paid my ten bucks, and walked in . . .

Ten years ago, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding her baby daughter. Told to try yoga by everyone from the woman behind the counter at the co-op to the homeless guy on the corner, she signed up for her first class. She fell madly in love.

Over the next decade, she would tackle triangle, wheel, and the dreaded crow, becoming fast friends with some poses and developing long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation. Daughters of women who ran away to find themselves and made a few messes along the way, Dederer and her peers grew up determined to be good, good, good-even if this meant feeling hemmed in by the smugness of their organic-buying, attachment-parenting, anxiously conscientious little world. Yoga seemed to fit right into this virtuous program, but to her surprise, Dederer found that the deeper she went into the poses, the more they tested her most basic ideas of what makes a good mother, daughter, friend, wife-and the more they made her want something a little less tidy, a little more improvisational. Less goodness, more joy.

Poser is unlike any other book about yoga you will read-because it is actually a book about life. Witty and heartfelt, sharp and irreverent, Poser is for anyone who has ever tried to stand on their head while keeping both feet on the ground.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 6.3 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374236445

ISBN - 13: 9780374236441

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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– More About This Product –

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

by Claire Dederer

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 Pages, 6.3 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374236445

ISBN - 13: 9780374236441

Read from the Book

POSER (Chapter One)1. Triangle Creamy and flushed and covered with fuzz, our baby daughter was like a delicious peach. Only much heavier. Even though I fed her on a diet of breast milk and nothing else, she grew fatter and fatter. She was dense with good health. The story of how I nursed my daughter has a catch-22 ending. The child was thriving on this milky, unending flow of a food designed perfectly for her. When she was ten months old, I began to feel like we might weigh about the same amount. I would haul her onto my lap, and she would gaze up at me with delight, and, in the parlance of the day, latch on. I would gaze back at her, amazed that I could so easily satisfy another creature. She was intent and happy as she suckled away. The only problem with the baby was that when I held her in my lap for these marathon feedings, she was crushing something crucial inside me. Maybe my spleen, or possibly something larger. I tried lying on my side to nurse her, but she required so much food, provided in such lengthy sessions, that this wasn’t really tenable. The milk was making her so, ah, healthy that it was getting harder and harder to actually deliver the milk to her. (That’s the catch-22 part.) Cast your mind back to the late 1990s for just a moment. Nursing, at least where we lived in Seattle, was a strange combination of enthusiast’s hobby and moral mandate. Drive thirty miles to the north, where my husband’s cousins lived in suburbia, and you’
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From the Publisher

The studio was decorated in the style of Don't Be Afraid, We're Not a Cult. All was white and blond and clean, as though the room had been designed for surgery, or Swedish people. The only spot of color came from the Tibetan prayer flags strung over the doorway into the studio. In flagrant defiance of my longtime policy of never entering a structure adorned with Tibetan prayer flags, I removed my shoes, paid my ten bucks, and walked in . . .

Ten years ago, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding her baby daughter. Told to try yoga by everyone from the woman behind the counter at the co-op to the homeless guy on the corner, she signed up for her first class. She fell madly in love.

Over the next decade, she would tackle triangle, wheel, and the dreaded crow, becoming fast friends with some poses and developing long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation. Daughters of women who ran away to find themselves and made a few messes along the way, Dederer and her peers grew up determined to be good, good, good-even if this meant feeling hemmed in by the smugness of their organic-buying, attachment-parenting, anxiously conscientious little world. Yoga seemed to fit right into this virtuous program, but to her surprise, Dederer found that the deeper she went into the poses, the more they tested her most basic ideas of what makes a good mother, daughter, friend, wife-and the more they made her want something a little less tidy, a little more improvisational. Less goodness, more joy.

Poser is unlike any other book about yoga you will read-because it is actually a book about life. Witty and heartfelt, sharp and irreverent, Poser is for anyone who has ever tried to stand on their head while keeping both feet on the ground.

About the Author

Claire Dederer''s essays, criticism, and reporting have appeared in Vogue, The New York Times, Slate, Salon, Yoga Journal, Real Simple, The Nation and in newspapers around the country. She has taught writing at the University of Washington. A fourth-generation Seattle native, she lives with her family on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound.

Editorial Reviews

“[A] fine first memoir, and it’s heartening to see a serious female writer take such a risky step into territory where writers of literary ambition fear to tread, lest they be dismissed as trivial . . . [What] makes Poser work on a lot of levels is that first in line to ask searching questions and poke fun is the author herself . . . Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman''s openhearted reckoning with her demons . . . In the hands of a gifted writer, the universal is embedded within the personal. Guess what? Your bad wallpaper made for a lovely book .” —Dani Shapiro, The New York Times Book Review “Let me be honest about something: I love yoga, I live for yoga, and yoga has changed my life forever—but it is very difficult to find books about yoga that aren’t incredibly annoying. I’m sorry to say it, but yoga sometimes makes people talk like jerks. Thank goodness, then, for Claire Dederer, who has written the book we all need: the long-awaited funny, smart, clear-headed, thoughtful, truthful, and inspiring yoga memoir. To simplify my praise: I absolutely loved this book .” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love “Why did Claire Dederer take up yoga? Short answer: for the same kinds of reasons that Elizabeth Gilbert changed her life in Eat, Pray, Love , and to much the same funny, charming, self-deprecating, stealthily inspirational and (quite possibly) best-selling effect . . .
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