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Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

by

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses Cover

 

Staff Pick

Poser is an intelligent and funny memoir-slash-exploration-of-yoga. It sounds lighthearted, and it can be, but Dederer illuminates hard questions with honesty and grace, and transformed the way I look at my on-again, off-again yoga practice. Poser is inspiring in the best possible way.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"'I have never been good at sports; I always feel like a spectator even in the middle of the game,' writes freelance writer Dederer about her initial reluctance to attend a yoga class. But despite her misgivings and her 'defiance of my longtime policy of never entering a structure adorned with Tibetan prayer flags,' Dederer makes it through that first class to develop a strong commitment to yoga in addition to — and sometimes despite — raising two children, coping with a husband struggling with depression, finding time to write, along with a demanding extended family and a move from her native Seattle to Colorado. With lighthearted humor and a touch of irony, Dederer introduces her readers to the culture of motherhood in north Seattle during the late 1990s, a place populated by clog-wearing attachment-parenting women whom Dederer simultaneously disdained and embraced. Each chapter is titled after a different yoga pose as Dederer recounts the challenging births of her children and reflects upon her own emotionally difficult childhood and adolescence during the 1970s. Dederer's memoir, like a challenging yoga class, flows smoothly and shows by example that a full life is one that is constantly in motion. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Dederer contributes nuggets of yoga trivia paired with a droll, self-effacing delivery that's both down-to-earth and pleasingly introspective. Delicious fun with a friendly nudge for readers on the fence about yoga." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Dederer's humor is tangy and precision-aimed; her targets are the sine qua non of memoirs: mothers and marriage. A book reviewer and social critic...Dederer writes superbly and offers sharp insights into family dynamics as well as hatha yoga's impact on American life." Booklist

Review:

"Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman's open-hearted reckoning with her demons." New York Times

Review:

"It's got the gravitational pull of a good novel and an unusually genuine voice that envelops the reader swiftly.... Dederer sparkles when introspection is ruthless — the result reads true and funny." Seattle Times

Review:

"From the bendier-than-thou instructors to the more-locavore-than-thou preschool parents, Dederer captures everyone in her world with humanity and gentle wit. So many readers will relate to her story" Boston Globe

Synopsis:

After throwing her back out, Dederer was told to try yoga. Over the next decade, she would become fast friends with some poses and develop long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Wendy in Port Townsend, December 25, 2011 (view all comments by Wendy in Port Townsend)
I enjoyed this book by Claire Dederer about learning from different yoga teachers while raising a family while recovering from her parents' separation when she was a child. I also appreciated that most of it takes place in and around Seattle, since I'm reading a lot of books set in the Pacific Northwest these days. The book is cleverly structured, with each chapter named after a yoga asana, and each chapter explores her development in yoga, the complexities of her home life, and her memories growing up, especially as all of those relate to the asana. It's a very honest book, and often very funny, as she captures the absurdity of the intense young mothers in North Seattle.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
elliotfamily, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by elliotfamily)
Poser: My life in 23 Yoga Poses is a great book; insightful, funny and oh hell, I've been there too feeling. So much that I wish it had been written 12 years ago when my girl was born, so that I would have had a clue. Highly recommended, yogi or not, I loved it!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
LDP, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by LDP)
I am not a yoga-phile, but despite the title of Poser, that doesn't change how enjoyable, poignant and funny it is! Claire Dederer's memoir captures the zeitgeist of what it's like to be a new mom of a certain age in Seattle. But even that doesn't convey the essence of this book, which is a wonderfully written and self-effacing story of one woman's struggle to make peace with ALL the parts of her life. Truly an enjoyable read!
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374236441
Subtitle:
My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses
Author:
Dederer, Claire
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Yoga
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Hatha yoga
Subject:
Motherhood
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20101221
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Featured Titles
Religion » Eastern Religions » Yoga

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374236441 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Poser is an intelligent and funny memoir-slash-exploration-of-yoga. It sounds lighthearted, and it can be, but Dederer illuminates hard questions with honesty and grace, and transformed the way I look at my on-again, off-again yoga practice. Poser is inspiring in the best possible way.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'I have never been good at sports; I always feel like a spectator even in the middle of the game,' writes freelance writer Dederer about her initial reluctance to attend a yoga class. But despite her misgivings and her 'defiance of my longtime policy of never entering a structure adorned with Tibetan prayer flags,' Dederer makes it through that first class to develop a strong commitment to yoga in addition to — and sometimes despite — raising two children, coping with a husband struggling with depression, finding time to write, along with a demanding extended family and a move from her native Seattle to Colorado. With lighthearted humor and a touch of irony, Dederer introduces her readers to the culture of motherhood in north Seattle during the late 1990s, a place populated by clog-wearing attachment-parenting women whom Dederer simultaneously disdained and embraced. Each chapter is titled after a different yoga pose as Dederer recounts the challenging births of her children and reflects upon her own emotionally difficult childhood and adolescence during the 1970s. Dederer's memoir, like a challenging yoga class, flows smoothly and shows by example that a full life is one that is constantly in motion. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "Dederer contributes nuggets of yoga trivia paired with a droll, self-effacing delivery that's both down-to-earth and pleasingly introspective. Delicious fun with a friendly nudge for readers on the fence about yoga."
"Review" by , "Dederer's humor is tangy and precision-aimed; her targets are the sine qua non of memoirs: mothers and marriage. A book reviewer and social critic...Dederer writes superbly and offers sharp insights into family dynamics as well as hatha yoga's impact on American life."
"Review" by , "Poser is a powerful, honest, ruefully funny memoir about one woman's open-hearted reckoning with her demons."
"Review" by , "It's got the gravitational pull of a good novel and an unusually genuine voice that envelops the reader swiftly.... Dederer sparkles when introspection is ruthless — the result reads true and funny."
"Review" by , "From the bendier-than-thou instructors to the more-locavore-than-thou preschool parents, Dederer captures everyone in her world with humanity and gentle wit. So many readers will relate to her story"
"Synopsis" by , After throwing her back out, Dederer was told to try yoga. Over the next decade, she would become fast friends with some poses and develop long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation.
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