Poser my life in twenty-three yoga poses Claire Dederer
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.