First There is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance
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First There is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  14 reviews
First There Is A Mountain is a tale of spiritual longing that brought a young American woman to the yoga institute of the renowned B.K.S. lyengar, the man who introduced yoga to a Western audience. Once there, She became a wayward protegee of this mercurial and demanding teacher, piecing together his life's vision of the ancient Hindu practice and finding her place within...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 2nd 2004 by Little, Brown and Company
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Here's my blurb:

"Like a neon lotus, this book dazzles with its hard-won revelations."
Aug 03, 2011 Dasha added it
“First There Is a Mountain” is not a book about yoga…it’s a Memoir of Elizabeth Kadetsky. It is a story of her trips to India and her yoga practice. Of course, it is a story of Elizabeth’s guruji, one of the most enigmatic yogi teachers of 20th century, B.K.S. Iyengar, and his “yoga empire”.

Elizabeth Kadetsky analyzes her own life, (her family matters, her divorced parents), while breathing deeply through practicing asanas.

This is also history of India in tight connection with the history of y...more
Kadetsky's yoga memoir is poorly served by the cover art, which is very "lady travels the world to find the strength that was always inside her"-y. She does use words like "journey"--major yoga foul, in my book--but overall her book is both a carefully reported introduction to the historical currents behind Iyengar yoga and a personal story. As I read, I suspected that Kadetsky was more invested in presenting the fruits of her research than the particulars of her time in India, which was fine by...more
The book started off very slowly but once the author is in India and studying with Iyengar, it picks up.

I really wanted to like this book, but it seemed to be all over the place, and perhaps it was meant to be, as a reflection of how the author felt about herself during various times of her life.

The book is a memoir about her life and how yoga affected her at various times. It's also about her relationship with Iyengar.

If I didn't enjoy yoga so much and learning about yoga, I don't think I wo...more
What a beautiful book. Finally a book about yoga that explores the topics no one wants to talk about: yoga's connection with Hindu fundamentalism, to what extent yoga's relationship with the west is imperialistic/orientalist, what is the relationship between the classical yoga of Patanjali, medieval hatha yoga manuals, and the modern yoga movement, what is the nature of the rivalries between Iyengar, Krishnamacarya, Pattabhi Jois, and others? What a pleasure to read Kadetsky's always informed an...more
Maiga Milbourne
Kadetsky wanted an academic treatment of yoga blended with a memoir. Hefty goal! However, I loved it. I found certain story lines unsettling (a somewhat romantic treatment of her struggle with an eating disorder) but others so refreshing (she gave a really honest and engaged investigation of gurus and yoga history). So much yoga literature is a blend of myth and history with little to no footnoting. I really wanted a writer to begin parsing out history, culture, belief, and myth. Hers is the fir...more
As a longtime yoga enthusiast, I enjoyed this book tremendously for the light it shed on yoga's development, both in India and the West. Kadetsky's insider/outsider perspectives were especially valuable as she negotiated the sublime and the ridiculous that is not only yoga, but just plain human. I especially appreciated her nuanced view of Iyengar, as well as her excellent writing. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a well-balanced (no pun intended) view of this popular practice.
I liked this book a lot because I've just finished my second yoga teacher training and I'm interested in the beginnings of yoga in India and its translation to the west. If you are not a yoga enthusiast, this book may be hard to get through.
A look at the Iyengar family both as they influence one woman in the United States and as she travels to India. This book is good for anyone interested in the Iyengar school in India and some of the history of the family.
I was enjoying this greatly, but found my interest waning close to the end (mostly I just got distracted by shinier things); I'm sure I'll return to it someday soon to finish it up.
Interesting memoir about her journey learning yoga, meeting Iyengar and India
Since I'm still reading it, I haven't formed an opinion yet.
A little slow going, but I learnd a lot about yoga.
An interesting story so far but pretty self-indulgent.
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Elizabeth Kadetsky's short stories have been chosen for a Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, and Best American Short Stories notable stories, and her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, Santa Monica Review, Antioch Review, Post Road, Agni, and elsewhere. She has traveled extensively and can utter phrases convincingly in Spanish, French, Italian, Hindi, Urdu, Arabi...more
More about Elizabeth Kadetsky...
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