Monday, April 04, 2011

Browsing Area Book of the Week, April 4, 2011.

The Subtle Body: the story of yoga in America, by Stefanie Syman.
Library Call Number: B132.Y6S96 2010.
          A spiritual discipline which has become a multimillion dollar American business is examined in this scholarly work on yoga.
          “Yoga’s history in America is longer and richer than even its most devoted practitioners realize. It was present in Emerson’s New England, and by the turn of the twentieth century it was fashionable among the leisure class. And yet when Americans first learned about yoga, what they learned was that it was a dangerous, alien practice that would corrupt body and soul. A century later, you can find yoga in gyms, malls, and even hospitals, and the arrival of a yoga studio in a neighborhood is a signal of cosmopolitanism. How did it happen? It did so, Syman explains, through a succession of charismatic yoga teachers, who risked charges of charlatanism as they promoted yoga in America, and through generations of yoga students, who were deemed unbalanced or even insane for their efforts. “ --from the dust jacket.

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