Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses
In Poser, Claire Dederer takes on two of the most en vogue trends for young women in the early twenty-first century: yoga and attachment parenting. After a liberated childhood, having been raised in Seattle in the 1970s and 1980s by parents who embraced many of the hippie ideals of the 1960s, Dederer took those lessons of freedom to heart. She, like many others in her generation, went to college but delayed getting a 9-5 job, marriage, and childrearing into her third decade.
Having settled down, she quickly found herself closer to the 1950s, with a husband who was the sole breadwinner except for the emphasis on organic food and co-sleeping and public breastfeeding. Thanks to a back problem and subtle social pressure from her fellow Supermoms, Claire decided to try yoga.
The book is cleverly divided into chapters based on yoga poses that the author was mastering. Throughout her struggle with balance and strength and patience in the yoga studio, the reader follows Dederer as these trials and successes translate into the rest of her life. Without sounding trite or cliché, she manages to draw the reader in to the lessons she is learning about being present in her life in every moment without worrying about perfection—admittedly a difficult concept for someone who grew up being told over and over again that she could, and should, be anything she wanted.
The cast of characters includes two children, Claire’s overworked and underpaid husband, and an assortment of immediate family members who are never more than a stone’s throw away. Each of these relationships shifts ever so slightly as the author becomes more comfortable with her own discomfort, both in various yoga studios and in her everyday life.
Many mothers will immediately identify with her visceral need to measure up to the other mothers in her circle and be perfect and her message comes across in a refreshingly humorous but not self-deprecating way. Whether or not you engage in a yoga practice, there are lessons to be learned from this book.