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First There is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance Hardcover – January 2, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"...Kadetsky brings her fierce intelligence and savvy style to bear on the most intimate and unmapped of literary territory..." -- Melanie Thernstorm
"...a wonderful book...colorful, honest, smart and wise..." -- Martha Sherrill, author
"...an enthralling account of several journeys..." -- Margot Livesey
"...an intriguing journey into the sometimes magical, sometimes mystifying world of yoga. I loved this book..." -- Maggie Estep
"...seamlessly combines the emotions of a meaningful personal journey with a journalist's rigor and scope---inspiring and educational..." -- Aimee Bender, author
"Like a neon lotus, this book dazzles with its hard-won revelations." -- Rachel Resnick, author
"Like a raga, delicate and beautiful, with an undercurrent that will pull you ferverishly, into a startling world." -- Katherine Russell Rich
Top Customer Reviews
FIRST THERE IS A MOUNTAIN is a classified in the genre of "memoir/spirituality." I'm a yoga practitioner myself who has read several other yoga memoirs, and thus I expected to enjoy author Elizabeth Kadestsky's tale of her own yoga journey, especially given that it involved actually traveling to Pune, India, to study with her guru, B.K.S. Iyengar. And Kadestsky certainly does readily share details from her life: being caught between her parents' divorce, practicing meditation to escape her stepfather, and struggling with depression in college. Although the book opens with Kadetsky already in India, these stories are frequently--and fairly haphazardly, I might add--woven in as flashbacks.
Whenever Kadestsky does return to present-day India, however, both her tone and focus. Suddenly, these segments read like a biography--not of Kadestsky herself, but of B.K.S. Iyengar. She describes in great detail the origins of his work with his brother-in-law, T. Krishnamacharya, and the events leading up to the founding of the Iyengar Institute in Pune. I actually found that I preferred these more factual interludes to Kadestsky's speculative ramblings--about herself, her dreams, Iyengar, his daughter Geeta, the Institute, and more.
In the end, this book felt like it was at war with itself, struggling in vain for an identity.Read more ›
Surprisingly, after the read, I felt new inspiration for my personal yoga practice. I am so grateful for the masters that have given us a sense of history, but am overjoyed that the practice ultimately becomes our own. Kadetsky illustrated that wonderfully.
Finally accepted as a student, Elizabeth learns that her yoga style is a westernized fake that is nothing like that taught by the Master. As a pupil, she begins to explore the boundaries between the physical, the mental and the transcendent spiritual bridge between the two parts that when in harmony make a whole. The reporter inside Elizabeth also explores her teacher's background and the sacred place of yoga in India as under Iyengar's tutelage she journeys beyond her past seeking her whole.
FIRST THERE IS A MOUNTAIN in a tremendous account of west meets east on eastern terms. Readers will feel the love that Elizabeth Kadetsky has for her mentor, her trek from yoga the exercise mechanism to revering religious like the yoga transcend journey of the mind and body, and finally an insightful look at the past and present of yoga diagonally crossing the caste system. The audience will understand why Ms. Kadetsky subtitles her journal "A Yoga Romance".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a lyrical journey of personal discovery that I found both inspiring, challenging, and deep with insights. Read morePublished 5 months ago by varlet
So many things to appreciate in this book! Elizabeth Kadetsky has studied Yoga as a Body and Mind discipline for many moons. Read morePublished 20 months ago by C. J. Hardman
I enjoyed reading this memoir. The author gave some great insight on the history of yoga in India and U.S. In addition, her personal experiences with B.K.S. Read morePublished 22 months ago by June A. Howlett
good read. not all entirely flattering for the Iyengar and Krishnamacharya fans but it is biographic.Published 22 months ago by connie waczkowski
Anyone studying in the Iyengar tradition should read this. A good story, beautiful writing, incisive insights about the India-side of things.Published on April 16, 2014 by Book Lover
Heard about this book through reddit, and decided to use it for my yoga teacher training. It was very useful in introducing the history of yoga!Published on December 4, 2012 by Mariah Gewin
Kadetsky's personal journey through Iyengar Yoga is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and enjoyed her use of personal memoir, spiritual pilgrimage, and research on the... Read morePublished on June 4, 2010 by Lorraine Y. Aubert
Many 10 to 15 year practitioners of Iyengar Yoga categorize themselves as "rank beginners." What many Western students have to learn is that the practice of Yoga demands humility. Read morePublished on July 19, 2008 by CWN