The Yoga Teacher [NOOK Book]


Dissatisfied with her job as a pharmaceutical rep and struggling with the decline of her long-term relationship, Grace, a well-heeled Londoner, uses yoga class to unwind, reflect, and momentarily transcend her earthly dilemmas. While pitching her company’s latest antidepressant to the disarming Dr. James, she is inspired by his plan to study Eastern medicine in Vietnam and decides to quit her job to become a yoga teacher.

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The Yoga Teacher

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Dissatisfied with her job as a pharmaceutical rep and struggling with the decline of her long-term relationship, Grace, a well-heeled Londoner, uses yoga class to unwind, reflect, and momentarily transcend her earthly dilemmas. While pitching her company’s latest antidepressant to the disarming Dr. James, she is inspired by his plan to study Eastern medicine in Vietnam and decides to quit her job to become a yoga teacher.

After studying at the eccentric White Lotus Foundation in California, Grace returns to London, ready for her new life.  But nothing could have prepared her for the motley crew of students she amasses--from the octogenarian industrialist desperate for distraction, the supermodel who indulges yogic aspirations when she tires of kabbalah, to the American film star who uses yoga classes to conceal a scandalous affair. Overwhelmed, Grace soon finds herself relying on her bi-continental correspondence with Dr. James for solace and inspiration, his words hovering above her London life like a sweet promise.

With an eye for the absurdity in every encounter, Alexandra Gray gently skewers our society’s preference for a quick-fix nirvana in this chronicle of one woman’s quest for love and meaning in a world numbed by materialism and psychotropic drugs.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Gray (Ten Men) portrays the world of Westernized yoga, from its true disciples to spandex-wrapped poseurs, in this uplifting tale of starting over. Languishing in an unfulfilling pharmaceutical sales job, unhappy in her relationship with an unemployed single dad and still mourning the death of her previous boyfriend, Londoner Grace sees the daily yoga classes at Swami P's as her only salvation. A business meeting that turns personal inspires Grace to ditch both job and boyfriend and become a yoga teacher. Yet Grace's new path is far from blissful; she teaches "heart sinker" patients at a health clinic and privately instructs socialites, a starlet and an aging supermodel. She also carries on a correspondence with the doctor who sparked her decision to change her life, and their letters are full of potential for a future together. The narration can be frustrating-in the same passage, the reader will be inside of Grace's head one moment and a detached observer the next-but if Grace seems distant, her decisiveness at making a new life is still an inspiration for anyone who's ever yearned to pursue a dream. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Grace is a London-based pharmaceutical sales person by day and a yoga devotee by night. The loss of loved ones has left her reluctant to reach out to others. Then she meets Dr. David James, and their conversations reveal much common ground. Both see the flaws in their current jobs, and both aspire to better and more fulfilling lives. The chemistry between them bubbles beneath the surface. Still, they part-Grace to a California training program for yoga teachers, David to a Vietnamese course in non-Western medicine. Once certified, Grace returns to London and collects an eclectic array of yoga students, which helps her crystallize her plans for the future. David also returns to practice holistic medicine. With a little push from a friend, Grace and David are reunited, equally optimistic, refreshed, renewed, and ready to pursue a romantic relationship together. Gray's second novel (after Ten Men) details the mental and spiritual realignment of the midlife crisis. She captures the struggle and its consequences. Funny, sad, engaging, and optimistic, this story conveys almost as much about yoga as it does about the human condition. Recommended for all general fiction collections.
—Joanna Burkhardt

Kirkus Reviews
In the second novel from London-resident Gray (Ten Men, 2005), a successful British pharmaceutical rep gives up her lucrative career to train as a yoga instructor. For elegant 40-year-old Grace (the daughter of two physicians) the healthcare profession was an obvious choice, whether or not it particularly suited her. As a legal "drug dealer" shilling antidepressants to doctors, she takes refuge from her hectic city life in the yoga studio, under the ministrations of quirky "Swami P," who shows her that there really is more to the world than material possessions and quick-fix happy pills. Yoga, which also led her to her handsome unemployed actor boyfriend Harry, inspires Grace to quit her job and pursue a simpler life teaching yoga to others. To that end she signs up for a teacher training course in Southern California, right before dumping the leechy Harry, who was probably cheating on her anyway. Then it's off to groovy Malibu where she bonds with an assortment of fellow devotees. She also carries on a sweetly intimate correspondence with Dr. James, an attractive (single) psychiatrist back in England who, like Grace, has begun to have doubts about Western medicine and the path his life has taken. Their romantic potential is thwarted, though, when he jets off to Vietnam to study alternative medicine just as she is returning to London. Back at home she quickly picks up a variety of clients ranging from pampered rich women to hard case National Health patients referred to her by a frustrated doctor. These reluctant yogis, who suffer from a variety of mental and physical ailments, challenge Grace's confidence, as does aging supermodel Collette, who hopes that yoga will help her to conceive.It soon becomes clear to all her students that Grace is a natural-so good that an A-list movie star tries to lure her to New York. But what about Dr. James? Liberally peppered with yogic terms and philosophy, Gray's drolly funny novel favors Grace's internal transformation over dramatic plot. A winning depiction of a modern spiritual quest, even if Grace's speedy transformation to in-demand guru is a bit too smooth.
The Barnes & Noble Review
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. --Vikram Johri
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555848545
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,381,403
  • File size: 3 MB

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Wonderful book on those who tread a spiritual path -

    This is the best novel above yoga that I've read (and there are many popping up lately). None of us walk on water and this novel depicts those studying to be yoga teachers with warts and all. The author managed to weave a suspenseful love story within the context of spiritual growth. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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