26 September 2008
I've just finished The Yoga Teacher by Alexandra Gray and loved it.
Plot synopsis: Grace is dissatisfied with her job as a pharmaceutical rep and struggles with the decline of her long-term relationship. while pitching her company’s latest antidepressant to Dr. James, she is inspired by his plan to study acupuncture in Vietnam and decides to quit her job to become a yoga teacher.
Grace decides to study at the Bodhi Tree in California, which is the very loosely disguised White Lotus Foundation where Alexandra Gray studied. Grace returns to London but nothing prepared her for the students she amasses -- from the octogenarian industrialist desperate for distraction, the supermodel who indulges yogic aspirations when she tires of kabbalah, the American movie star, and the students with all types of maladies referred to her by a doctor. Grace soon finds herself relying on her correspondence and text messages with Dr. James for solace and inspiration.
Gray's descriptions of Grace's teacher training (and the people in it) and her students are right-on. she hits all the marks when she describes students' personalities and conditions and what they are looking to get from yoga. there is just enough "yoga talk" to keep the practitioner and teacher interested, but not so much that someone who has never done yoga wouldn't get what's going on. as a yoga teacher, Gray has an eye for the sometime absurdity of teaching and the delicate balance of the dharma and the dough, i.e., making money in a profession that pays very poorly.
I thought The Yoga Teacher was one of the more realistic fictional portrayals of the yoga teaching world and I found myself both laughing and nodding in full agreement at Gray's words.
Get the book, you won't be disappointed. and no, Alexandra Gray is not paying me for this good review, although she should!