The Yoga Teacher

By ALEXANDRA GRAY

Alexandra Gray, yoga teacher to celebrities and author of one previous book, explores the Western fascination for this ancient Indian exercise form. The story revolves around Grace, a pharmaceutical saleswoman whose lifelong fascination with yoga, combined with the gentle initiation of her yoga instructor, gives her the confidence to chuck her dull job and head to California to take lessons at the Bodhi Tree, a disciplinarian yoga camp. On returning to London, she becomes a yoga teacher, but her transformation is fraught with troubles — financial and emotional. Gray’s narration flows smoothly, and her familiarity with the world of demanding celebrities and sex-seeking teachers lends authenticity and panache to the tale. The treatment never really turns syrupy, and Gray includes enough down-and-out characters to balance the lightweight concerns of some of the cast. From an aging model whose motive for yoga is thin ankles to a socialite who shows displeasure in sharing the table with her, Grace must imbibe the generous spirit of her craft to deal with her clients. In one scene, she ponders that she felt like a traveling minister, “admitted to the world of the uber-rich clutching reliquaries.” The story builds to a suitable conclusion, with Gray, in the true spirit of yoga, showing us the sublime within the material.

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