April 5, 2011

Not Your Momma’s Book Club: Join the Yoga Book Club on Twitter (#YOBC).

In the late 1970’s my mom would feed me and my sister an early dinner, give us an early bath and tuck us into bed early. She was going off to meet the other housewives of the neighborhood for their monthly book club meeting.

Their book club was probably as much about time away from the kids as great literary discussion, but it served its purpose to enlarge their view beyond their own little world.

Fast-forward to a new generation and book clubs have taken on a new look and a new life. Today’s book clubs still gather a group of people with like interests, a love of books and the occasional glass of wine. But now they add in a unique social media twist.

Meet the Twitter Yoga Book Club (#YOBC).

A varied collection of men and women yogi’s, some yoga teachers, some in yoga teacher training, all reading the same book and tweeting their thoughts using hash tag #YOBC.  There’s no deadline to read the book, no time frame for discussion and the best part of all – you can tweet any time and anywhere.  No getting the kids to bed early required.

Prompted by @MeredithLeBlanc, the first official Twitter Yoga Book Club selection was Yoga School Dropout by Lucy Edge. The book is the story of one woman’s search through India for the perfect yoga school to turn her into a perfect yoga goddess.

The beauty of a Twitter book club is that I’m exposed to the opinions and experiences of those beyond my small daily community. The vastness of the Internet exponentially increases the varied insights offered to the discussion. It’s amazing what you can learn in just 140 characters.

Since some of the Twitter readers had been to India and the same yoga schools as Edge, they were able to offer their experiences while there and how they compared to the authors. For those of us who haven’t traveled to India yet, it gave me an even broader view of this far-away country.

And as a surprise bonus, @BobWeisenberg, Elephant Yoga editor, was able to invite Lucy Edge herself to our Twitter discussions. I guarantee my mom never had the actual author in her living room to ask about the book!

Next the Twitter book club moved on to a yoga journey here in the United States with Poser My Life in Twenty-Three Poses by Claire Dederer. Dederer spends ten years tackling different yoga styles while juggling the demands of work and motherhood.

At first @MegP4 and I both thought Dederer was overly whiny and annoying about the trials of being a mom. Yes, you have children and you’re tired. Been there, done that and didn’t get a book deal out of it!  But by the end of the book we both could relate to taking the lessons we learn in our yoga practice off the mat. How we treat ourselves on the mat says a lot about how we treat those we love in our life.

Right now, we are reading Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald. MacDonald’s book is an honest look at both the beautiful and disgusting parts of India. She describes the kindness and generosity of the people of India next to shocking descriptions of dowry burnings and poverty. It’s a juxtaposition that is hard to comprehend.

MacDonald’s language teacher during her stay in India explains to her that the greeting Namaste-ji means, “I recognize the divine in you”. She does eventually begin to see the divine in the Indian people, everyone from government officials to the poor beggar girl.

The Twitter book club has not only deepened my love of and understanding of my yoga, increased the size of my yoga and book Kula, but it has developed new friendships in people I would never have the opportunity in real life to meet.

Like MacDonald who journeyed to a land of strangers to find love and friendship, I too have developed a bond with new and unexpected friends. To all the Twitter Yoga Book Club members, to you I say Namaste-Ji.

Please join us at #YOBC on Twitter.

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