December 06, 2012

Tales from the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell

I've just recently started taking yoga classes. And let's just say that I am not a natural. It's all I can do to try to touch my toes. But I enjoy striving to become better at it and figured reading a book might increase my enjoyment. And this book wasn't too bad. I'd probably give it about 3.5 stars. There was definite room for improvement, but it did keep my attention.

Lee owns a small independent yoga studio where she is the main teacher. There are other classes of course, but between herself, and her husband who sometimes helps out, and her friend who rents a small room for massage, it's a close-knit operation. Well, minus the husband aspect. As he has recently moved out to "find himself" Lee hasn't been feeling herself lately. Added to that is an offer to sell her skills to a corporate yoga studio and she's feeling quite a bit of pressure. But she still wants to present the best classes possible to her students. She wants to be there for them, and when they all have problems of their own, they need the clarity of a yoga class as well.

I like how this book showed that a yoga instructor isn't perfect. Lee does her best but she has her own flaws and problems in life and isn't as "zen" as she would probably like to be. All of the other characters also have relatable problems. Imani is getting over a miscarriage, Katherine is a recovering addict, Stephanie stresses too much about work and Graciela just wants to have an audition go ok despite an injury. The yoga class kind of brings them together and shows that with the right kind of community and support, things can be achieved. However, that's the women in this story. When we talk about the men, at least Conor is quite redeeming, and I enjoyed reading about him. But the rest of them, either have a lot of issues or are complete jerks (Lee's husband anyone?) and I can't find their redeeming qualities. I guess I could spare Imani's husband some of the criticism, but he didn't really show up much in the book. Overall I would have liked to have seen more of the characters and for this to have been a longer book.

I think overall the message in this book is about growing. Each of the characters has to work through the problems ultimately by themselves. They have their friends supports but no one can automatically change something for you. You have to do it yourself. Add that in to the fact that you have to be pretty dedicated and focused to do yoga and I think that the whole thing is a learning experience in life. As for the yoga itself, I was proud to say I understood a couple of the poses that they mentioned. But then the vast majority were completely incomprehensible to me. Guess I'm just not that far along in my classes yet. But if you have even had one yoga class, you'll understand a little bit about what is talked about in this book. The writing style itself is a bit choppy and jumps around a bit so its hard to keep a timeline. But it is friendly and approachable and that somewhat makes up for it.

As said before, there is room for improvement but overall this book was comfortable. I won't go as far as to say it is as relaxing as yoga, but it was a nice read.

Tales from the Yoga Studio
Copyright 2011
279 pages

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