Meditating On: Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison

I don’t understand why people say that Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbery changed their life.  I read the book too and I liked it as much as the next girl, but life changing?  Uh-uh.  Good fun, a nice adventure but I fail to see how going to Italy, India and Bali is a relatable journey.  Maybe I’m missing something, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Trust me, I understand how books can change your life.  In fact, I understand probably better than you realize.  When I was in eighth grade, I saw this really cool book at the book store.  It was purple and glittery and had a picture of Venice on the cover.  It was, however, missing one crucial bit: a blurb.  I had absolutely no idea what the book was about and my mom wouldn’t let me buy it.

Then the scholastic book shop cart extravaganza came to my middle school (weren’t those things amazing?  second only to the book ordering forms…).  On the middle shelf on the far right sat the very book I had just seen!  I picked it up, looked at it and saw it had a blurb.  I read it and knew my mother and I would be taking a trip to the bookstore that evening.

If I hadn’t read nearly one-hundred pages on the first day because two of my teachers were absent, I wouldn’t have felt the same all consuming love with it as I did.  The book was set in England and Italy.  I’m now studying Italian in England.  There’s no way this would have happened had I not read that book I am 100% sure.

The truly shocking part of this story?  I only made the overt connection, like, a couple months ago.

Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison is all about the search for something larger than oneself.  Morrison, reeling after 9/11 and about to make a big move with her boyfriend, is a lapsed-Catholic searching for a power higher than herself.  She decides to go on a yoga retreat in Bali with the teacher of her local yoga studio whom she idolizes.  During her two months abroad, Morrison learns about herself, about yoga and about religion all while going through some hysterical experiences.

The book doesn’t easily fall into a funny/dramatic/spiritual category.  It’s funny and a bit light, but deals with larger issues gracefully.  While current-day Morrison inserts her interpretations about the events in the beginning of each chapter, the story is driven through flash-back style snippets taken from the journal she wrote whilst on the retreat.  Not only does the reader get to accompany her in a set of surprising circumstances, the reader also gets the privelage of seeing Morrison grow up and, perhaps, growing up a bit with her.

Part of the reason the book is so great—though perhaps not life-chaging—is because of Morrison’s ability to deal with sometimes weighty topics with a well-articulated comedy.  She knows when to be serious and when to be ironic, helping the reader navigate the ridiculous world of the yoga retreat.

If you practice yoga, have any relation to the spiritual, or like stories about people going on journeys of self-discovery, you will find Yoga Bitch to be an enjoyable read.

Do you think books can be life-changing?  What book(s) has had a large impact on your life?

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