Hollowspine's Reviews > Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude

Stretch by Neal Pollack
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's review
Dec 31, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction

Although I hadn't read Pollack's previous novels I recognized him as a McSweeny's alum and with that knowledge knew that this was the kind of memoir I would appreciate. That coupled with the fact that I knew next to nothing about yoga made this a very interesting read for me. I come away from it with a new respect for yoga, which I had assumed was nothing more than an exercise regiment for people who liked eastern inspired motivational posters.

Reading this book I both deepened my knowledge and my respect of yoga. It hit somewhat close to home as well. Like Pollack I started doing Tae Kwon Do just as something to do, not thinking that it would be life changing or even that I would go very far in it, and yet it was and I did eventually earn my first degree black belt. However, unlike Pollack I didn't meet any life-long friends or mentors. Unfortunately after having it in my life for so long, I became disillusioned once I felt that I was teaching more than learning and each class was more and more about achieving the next rank rather than building friendships, knowledge of forms and techniques and developing both body and mind.

For a long time after I quit, nothing seemed quite right, and it is still a hole in my life. I'm not sure if yoga could fill it (I have a thing for ninjas), but after reading about Neal's experiences it certainly is a possibility. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in yoga or even in martial arts to pick up this book. There is more to both yoga and martial arts than being flexible and in shape and this book is an eye opener.

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