Poser my life in twenty-three yoga poses Claire Ded­erer

The Washington Post Sunday - - BOOK WORLD - — Justin Moyer moy­erj@wash­post.com

POSER My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses By Claire Ded­erer Far­rar Straus Giroux. 332 pp. $26

The yoga stu­dio in your neigh­bor­hood makes money repack­ag­ing a 2,000-year-old East­ern dis­ci­pline. Is that okay? Claire Ded­erer, free­lance jour­nal­ist and author of “ Poser,” isn’t sure, but that didn’t stop yoga from chang­ing her life. “I had started go­ing to yoga be­cause I wanted other peo­ple to ad­mire my good­ness,” she writes. “And yet what yoga seemed to be teach­ing me was this: Who cares? Who cares about good­ness? . . . There’s only this: a woman in a heap on the floor.”

Of course, Ded­erer’s ex­is­ten­tial non­cha­lance is a pose, too. Rais­ing two chil­dren in north Seat­tle, she pokes fun at her clique of “hol­low eyed” moth­ers who breast-feed their tod­dlers and shop ex­clu­sively at Whole Foods — all while grind­ing steamed or­ganic car­rots into baby food her­self. But it’s her wry am­biva­lence about moth­er­hood that smug­gles her book out of the New Age ghetto. “My body had be­come pure re­cep­ta­cle, not just for the grow­ing baby but for the opin­ions, anal­y­sis, and rules of ev­ery­one around me,” she writes. “I found that I did not like this one bit.” By the end of this pil­grim’s progress, with her body less a re­cep­ta­cle than a sym­bol of lib­er­ated wom­an­hood, Ded­erer is hap­pier, though no Bud­dha. In fact, she’s about as judg­men­tal as ever. What a re­lief.

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