Yoga is rehearsal for death – Book Review: “Stretch: The unlikely making of a yoga dude”

In true Pollack fashion, STRETCH kept me reading (and laughing) from teh first page to the last! Now, let’s be honest here: I’m a yogi. Or am I yogini? whatever…I practice yoga. I can’t imagine that the yoga-averse would find the humor in much of what is said here.

Pollack, a lazy couch-potato by his own proclamation, started practicing yoga at a gym. He was balding, out of shape and miserable. He went with his wife to the local gym and BAM! somehow found what he needed to help him on his own personal journey from shittiness. Not everyone practices for the same reason, but there is always a reason.

In this book, Pollack takes us thru his journey using the satire he’s best at, all the while introducing nuggets of truth and inspiration – even if they aren’t his own, but his yoga teachers’.

“there’s no more powerful force than your own perception of yourself. That will determine who you are…..don’t think about the future or the past, just the present. You need to see people on your equal level. See the happiness of the other that you’re speaking to so that they become happy in your presence. that’s love, divinity. The possibilities are limitless.”

Sharon Gannon, Stretch, page 214

But, as I said before, he couldn’t leave out the humor – if he did, it wouldn’t have been such a good book.

One of my favorite passages happens when Pollack is attending a Richard Freeman yoga weekend at Yoga Thailand. While sitting in meditation:

“Oh no, I thought. I can’t get a boner while meditating. That just wouldn’t be appropriate. but I did. A nice little chubby threatened to poke thru the Velco, as if to say, “I want to meditate, too.” Clearly it had to be stoped. i trie to notice the boner and move on, but it turns out that if you meditate on your boner, the boner just gets stronger. or does it? Yes, I decided, it does, and did.”

– Stretch, page 276

While, yes, this is one of the more crass statements in the book, it nonetheless had me rolling. Not because I have experienced this, but between his references to his own flatulence (much much earlier in the book) and this reference to his pecker, I’m convinced that Pollack is not someone who takes his yoga so darn seriously he can’t laugh at himself.

I hope that this review gives you a flavor for what makes this book so good….even though its not as good as the book – which is ok – I’m just going to suggest you read it. If you aren’t into yoga, maybe it will inspire you to try. If you are into yoga, maybe you’ll stop taking yourself so seriously and just enjoy the practice.

Rachael’s Grades:

Writing:  A+

Character Development: A

Plot: A

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