March 26, 2012

Finding More on the Mat. {Book Review}

 “So who do I have to kill to get some Grace around here?”

When Michelle asked if I wanted to read and review her book, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. There are plenty of yoga “memoirs” out there that seem to be little more than self-congratulatory storytelling and recycled pseudo-spiritual platitudes. But I had read Michelle’s work on elephant journal and figured it was safe to assume:

This is not one of those books.

Finding More on the Mat is both funny and honest. If you read Poser and about yawned yourself to death—this is for you. This is what I was hoping for from Poser, but didn’t get. Michelle weaves practical yoga wisdom and life lessons into each chapter:

“Love is just like yoga: You have to have a fearless heart. And you have to be willing to fail over and over again before you get it right.”

I get a little sick of the “yoga will make you a size zero,” articles and memoirs. Is that really what it’s all about? For me, my time on the mat is about finding more, not less. So when I read through Michelle’s stories of parenting, divorce, trauma, finding love and taking all of it in with sense of humor and her own perfectly imperfect version of grace, I nod my head. It’s not about less—of anything. It’s about finding more.

If you take yourself too seriously, don’t make any mistakes, have never gone through anything difficult, have perfect abs and are dying to become a Lululemon ambassador—this book is not for you. It’s for the rest of us. It’s what you wish your yoga teacher would tell you about who she is and what she’s learned the hard way. It’s advice from a girlfriend who’s been in your shoes over some “Haagen Daaz with a vodka chaser,” instead of a “I’m here on the mountaintop” guru-type who conveniently leaves out the fact that sometimes life is full of “Cit.”

It’s about yoga, but it’s about a lot more that that:

“You have to wake up from the coma of modern-day life, to go for what you really want…Desire and discontent keep us off balance. They keep us humble. From that place, we can strive for more in our lives. Living in that in-between place, between what you want and what you have, is uncomfortable at best and miserable at worse. But becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable, or stepping into the natural flow of life without struggle, is finding balance in an off-balance way. To me, that is one meaning of yoga. And above all other emotions, desire is at the heart of my practice.”

If, like me, you struggle to find that balance between desire that moves you forward and contentment in where you are now—both on and off the mat—Finding More is for you.


 {Note: I received this book for free, in return for a guarantee that I would review it. That said, I say what I want—good and bad, happy and sad.}

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