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Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude Paperback – August 10, 2010
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“Neal Pollack has a well documented history of putting himself into ridiculous positions, but never so literally… If Eat, Pray, Love had been written by a sweaty, aging, male smartass, then that book might be called Stretch, and Elizabeth Gilbert would be named Neal Pollack.” (—John Hodgman)
“[Neal Pollack is] a yoga bad boy, a bong-hitting carnivore with a taste for laughter…a highly entertaining guide as he investigates the good, bad and ugly of the yoga spectrum…Both sincere and subversive, Pollack will likely inspire more than one reader to commit to yoga.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Touching as well as funny...Ultimately, Pollack lampoons himself more than the culture, and this is perhaps the most compelling evidence of Pollack’s conversion: his inability to be snarky about yoga.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
From the Back Cover
The hilarious true account of an overweight, balding, skeptical guy's unexpected transformation into a healthy, blissful yoga fiend.
Neal Pollack was out of shape. The hair on his head was thinning and the hair on his face was pretentious—traits a New York Times critic gleefully pointed out while panning his second book. Combined with the predestined failure of his punk rock band, it was almost too much for Pollack to bear. He was willing to try anything to get his life back on track . . . even yoga.
While struggling to master difficult poses without kicking other yogis in the face, Pollack actually, remarkably, began to feel better, both in body and mind. Soon he found himself immersed in the "weird and circuslike" world of yoga. He participated in a 24-hour yogathon, attended yoga conferences and Asian retreats, went to yoga rock shows, started getting regular assignments for Yoga Journal magazine, and, finally, began teaching yoga classes himself.
Stretch mercilessly lampoons the bizarre, omnipresent culture of yoga, but it's also a story of profound personal transformation. Pollack started off mocking yoga. Now he's become one of its most enthusiastic proponents.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, it follows a narrative that would be familiar to many concerning the "underdog discovers himself, then his newfound love in life begets success in his life - which he passes on to others."
But, it's a funny and uplifting ride which only takes a couple sittings to get through.
While Pollack does play up the "dude" part of his persona, "Stretch" does actually interweave the philosophies of yoga and the sutras into his personal story. In this way, it acts as an excellent primer for the beginning yogi (and I'm a perpetual beginner...), while also being a funny romp for the experienced yogi, as is the friend who recommended this book to me.
I gave it five starts based on those reasons: it's a great narrative, it's honest, it's a great primer into exploring yoga and how it helps to shape how one relates to the world. This sounds totally hippy-drippy, but you can tell that Pollack, through his cynical sneering, loves his fellow yogis and pokes fun at them from a place in the heart. A quick, fun, and enjoyable read.
Ashtanga is not my yoga and wonder if the alcohol and drug use is just California yoga or his life. Maybe the book is summed up by the quote on page.116 "If it walked like yoga and quacked like yoga, it wasn't necessarily yoga."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a quick and easy entertaining read.Read more