I was attracted to the memoir Poser, my life in twenty three yoga poses, by Claire Dederer because I love yoga and Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a glowing endorsement saying she absolutely loved Poser. .
Dederer takes up yoga after her first child because her back is hurting, but yoga becomes much more than an exercise to relieve back pain. As she struggles to master yoga poses she also struggles to come to an understanding of her mother's decision to leave her father when Dederer was very young, as well as on the difficulties of her own marriage. Striving to be the perfect mother, wife, literary critic, daughter, good citizen, etc Dederer becomes more and more exhausted and unhappy. In each chapter she describes a yoga pose and makes correlations between the pose and events from her past, as well as her current life. .
At the heart of this memoir is the fact that life is a process; we make countless mistakes and that's ok. Dederer quotes a yoga instructor saying, "I hope everyone will allow themselves to be really crappy today, to walk away from being perfect. The real yoga isn't in the perfect pose; it's in the crappy pose that you are really feeling. You want to feel it from the inside out, rather than make it perfect from the outside in."
Poser is delightfully funny and yet also inspirational. I would recommend this memoir to yogis, but also to people who exhaust themselves in their quest for perfection.
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