A yoga expert charts her path to centered serenity.
From the opening pages of her memoir, the founder of Manhattan’s renowned OM yoga center is outspokenly quick to correct misconceptions about yoga instructors, who are assumed to be “always chill and never grumpy.” Lee’s (Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, 2004, etc.) life has been a mix of long-sought-after wellness and the trials of caring for an increasingly frail mother fraught with a merciless diagnosis of Lewy body disease, “which presents as a cruel combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” She reminisces about an upbringing greatly influenced by her father, a Protestant minister, and momentous visits from Gloria Steinem at her high school in the 1960s. Dancing and a steady interest in yoga buoyed Lee through an obsession with her physical image, which bloomed into a dogged “body grudge” and chronic low self-esteem that plagued her into adulthood. Several trips to India helped her comprehend that it wasn’t her body being “the real troublemaker,” but her mindset. Lee beautifully describes the yin and yang of an all-encompassing yogic lifestyle. Sprinkled throughout are short (but sweetly sage) anecdotes from the veteran yoga instructor’s classes. The author writes that her beloved mother’s firm direction on “how to be ladylike and strong at the same time” still resonates with her today and pretty much sums up the tone of this distinctively Zen autobiography.
A reassuring treat for the yoga set and inspiration for flexible newcomers.