Nonfiction Nagging- Yoga, Pee Drinking, and Getting Defensive

[Showing off... because I can, and because it's taken a long time to get this]
I love yoga. Like really, really, really love it. Unfortunately, I hate getting in my car to drive there and paying the fees every month. But whatever. I still love yoga. 

Before I start talking about Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison (still hate the name), I have to unload a little pet peeve of mine: I hate it when people imply that yoga is easy. I work harder and sweat more in ninety minutes of vinyasa yoga than I ever did running. I work more muscle groups and focus harder than I ever did pounding the pavement. My flexibility, strength, and balance has improved more in the last sixteen months than in the last sixteen years. Also important is the fact that it is one of the few things in my life that is a true distraction. My mind doesn't turn off- ever. Not even when I sleep (my dreams are exhausting). There's a little hamster in my head that is constantly running on a wheel that churns out thoughts, but during yoga the little thing falls asleep as I'm concentrating every ounce of energy on not falling over or bending just a little bit more. 

[does this look easy? source]

[how about this? source]
[piece of cake! source]

And now that I've confirmed everyone's suspicions that I'm crazy (and slightly more flexible than I look) I'll talk about the book.

Yoga Bitch is Suzanne Morrison's memoir of the time she spent at a yoga retreat in Bali at the age of twenty five. She's at a huge transitional point in her life, getting ready to move cross country from Seattle to New York with her boyfriend, who she obviously has some doubts about. She goes to Bali to earn her yoga teaching certificate and some perspective. When she arrives she has a lot to get used to- the weather is different, the people drink their own urine
(supposedly it prevents parasites), and they are supposed to abstain from sugar, alcohol, and sex of any sort. As the two months pass she makes friends, becomes more comfortable in her own skin, and learns to love the country. 

At first I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more yoga talk than there was. I wanted to hear more about mastering the moves and how to better embrace the physicality of the sport. But Morrison started growing on me- her skepticism regarding the spirituality component mirrors my own and her sarcasm juxtaposed the serenity of the retreat nicely. I could relate to her having to fight for calm and her need to question the intent of others. Her honesty about her need for affection and material goods was refreshing, and I loved that she managed to corrupt the rest of the group into sneaking into town for milkshakes, brownies and cocktails (my kind of girl!). 

I also appreciated the fact she wasn't preachy or so devout that she became intimidating. In fact, she took time away from her practice after her time in Bali and had to refall in love with it. Her discussion of the commercialization of the industry was interesting, as it has been something I have spent a lot of time thinking about (like when I'm looking at Lululeomon's website...). 

If you practice yoga, want to practice, or like the idea of going away to escape life and gain some perspective this book is for you. And, just so everyone knows, I don't drink my own pee. 


  1. Good to know you don't drink your own pee. lol

    This book sounds fascinating and I believe you that yoga isn't easy. I have only done a beginner video and I was so sore the next day. I really want to take classes at some point, but we will see if I ever have the money. :/ This sounds like it would be a good summer read. I just turned 25 so I think I will enjoy it even more.

  2. I'm always looking for interesting memoirs, and this one sounds quite good. I find it fascinating to read about people who do things like this author did, things that I would never have the courage to do (but kind of wish I did!). I'm a big fan of yoga, but also despise driving to the class and paying the fees.