Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude

Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude

From Neal Pollack, acclaimed author of Alternadad and The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, comes Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude. Here is the hilarious but true account of an overweight, balding, skeptical guy who undergoes a miraculous transformation into a healthy, blissful, obsessively dedicated yoga fiend....

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Title:Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude
Author:Neal Pollack
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Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude Reviews

  • Flissy

    OK, I confess, I totally was in tears laughing about Neal Pollack farting in yoga. I think I was expecting the whole book to be that hilarious (uh.. am I secretly a 12 year old boy?) but it turns out to be not only a very funny account of Pollack's own yoga experience, but also a very thoughtful and accurate account of contemporary yoga culture peppered with highlights in yoga history and philosophy. Highly recommended reading for yoga scenesters.

  • Frank

    Hilarious and unexpectedly moving book about a self-described "doughy 35ish white man" with skinny arms and a huge dose of self-pity named Neal Pollack -- he of a few momentarily fame-lofted books in the 20-aughts -- and his somewhat accidental stumbling into practicing yoga and finding a better place in his life. It's not really a memoir, not really a self-help book, most definitely NOT a how-to book on yoga practice, and there are a few too many excursions into chapters that read like padded v

    Hilarious and unexpectedly moving book about a self-described "doughy 35ish white man" with skinny arms and a huge dose of self-pity named Neal Pollack -- he of a few momentarily fame-lofted books in the 20-aughts -- and his somewhat accidental stumbling into practicing yoga and finding a better place in his life. It's not really a memoir, not really a self-help book, most definitely NOT a how-to book on yoga practice, and there are a few too many excursions into chapters that read like padded versions of articles that Pollack wrote for

    on various kooky and/or finger-pointy aspects of Western yoga and its absurdities. But in the end it's a great book to read -- nothing too heavy, to be sure, but that's just what I needed right now, at a time in my own life when I need to get back to yoga after leaving it on the back burner for way too long. And in that respect, the book succeeded -- and it was also fun to read, full of well-observed touches and a few annoying self-important ones as well.

  • Michelle

    I enjoyed the book far more than I thought I would. The book is a quick, engrossing read. Although I've had the book since November, I just started reading it because I wasn't sure I'd like it. So many of the reviews on Amazon wrote things that made it unappealing. However, once I started reading it, I found I couldn't put it down easily. It kept me up too late several nights in a row, making me a tired worker bee for several days.

    This is a yoga memoir, and it's a funny one. I will always pick f

    I enjoyed the book far more than I thought I would. The book is a quick, engrossing read. Although I've had the book since November, I just started reading it because I wasn't sure I'd like it. So many of the reviews on Amazon wrote things that made it unappealing. However, once I started reading it, I found I couldn't put it down easily. It kept me up too late several nights in a row, making me a tired worker bee for several days.

    This is a yoga memoir, and it's a funny one. I will always pick funny and light over serious and heavy. It's just how I am. I really enjoyed "Yoga Bitch," and the tone of this is somewhat similar.

    In its tone, it's sincere. For those, like me, who might have been put off by some of the reviews on Amazon, give this a chance if you really like yoga. This author is still "in love" with yoga. He knows that yoga can bring profound change into one's life, but he has witnessed the commercialism of yoga in America.

    I really enjoyed this, but I really wish the author had not gone into detail the way he did about flatulence, posterior smells, and stomach contents being released in a most unpleasant way. I had to skim quickly over those parts. Gross, gross, gross. If I could give 3 1/2 stars instead of 3 or 4 I would. I'm giving it four because it is a good book, but good grief, "Grow up, dude!" You'll find a wider audience if you'll stop with the juvenile humor.

  • Melody

    What an odd little book this is! Pollack is one of the ironically detached McSweeney's era writers, and it's really something to watch him struggle with his hipness and try to express some deep spiritual awakening. Ultimately, the ironic hipster dude gets the upper hand, and one's left wondering about what the transformation from stoner non-yoga guy to stoner yoga guy actually felt like. There aren't many clues here, just the evidence that his life is drastically different at the end, and not ju

    What an odd little book this is! Pollack is one of the ironically detached McSweeney's era writers, and it's really something to watch him struggle with his hipness and try to express some deep spiritual awakening. Ultimately, the ironic hipster dude gets the upper hand, and one's left wondering about what the transformation from stoner non-yoga guy to stoner yoga guy actually felt like. There aren't many clues here, just the evidence that his life is drastically different at the end, and not just because he can bend in new ways. He is still stoned all the time, which state of mind was so lovingly dwelt upon it made me a little nostalgic for the wildly baked days of my youth. 2.5 stars, I think.

  • Kay

    Neal Pollack and I don't speak the same language. He's a forty-year-old, baseball loving pothead and I'm a twenty something, bookish vegan. This made Stretch an odd read for me. (I don't think I understood more than one of his references. The one I did get referred to a Beck song. Mellow Gold is bridging the generation gap!) However, we share a love of yoga, and Pollack provides a great intro to yoga culture in the West.

    This isn't a how-to guide or a self help book, making it valuable for new an

    Neal Pollack and I don't speak the same language. He's a forty-year-old, baseball loving pothead and I'm a twenty something, bookish vegan. This made Stretch an odd read for me. (I don't think I understood more than one of his references. The one I did get referred to a Beck song. Mellow Gold is bridging the generation gap!) However, we share a love of yoga, and Pollack provides a great intro to yoga culture in the West.

    This isn't a how-to guide or a self help book, making it valuable for new and old yogis. You'll enjoy Pollack's wit, as he gently censure those more concerned with traipsing around in their lululemon pants than with finding enlightenment. The book fails when Pollack describes his quest to find his "best self". Jumping from describing pre-class bong hits and in-class boners to interpreting yogic philosophy seems a bit phony. All in all, this was a good read.

  • Lynn

    I picked this up as a 99-cent eBook, so I figured I didn't have much to lose. Overall it's an enjoyable, light read, and I appreciated the author's point-of-view. I don't practice yoga but it intrigues me, certain aspects of it seem quite worthwhile but I feel like there's a lot of wacky stuff there too. The author makes a point to try to wade through the strange to find the gems of wisdom that are most relevant to him.

    Starting off, it was hard to care about the author because his recap of his

    I picked this up as a 99-cent eBook, so I figured I didn't have much to lose. Overall it's an enjoyable, light read, and I appreciated the author's point-of-view. I don't practice yoga but it intrigues me, certain aspects of it seem quite worthwhile but I feel like there's a lot of wacky stuff there too. The author makes a point to try to wade through the strange to find the gems of wisdom that are most relevant to him.

    Starting off, it was hard to care about the author because his recap of his previous behavior made him an unsympathetic character and he came off like a smug jerk. But he is objective enough to realize some of his personal shortcomings and sees yoga as a path to redemption.

    I felt the end came rather abruptly. There's no real climax in this book, it just kind of meanders on until it ends. I think I was waiting for some kind of conclusion where he would summarize his experience and what he's learned. It just seemed unfinished.

    Also, I think he must have the world's most patient wife.

  • Scott Collins

    Neal Pollack calls himself a comic writer. Which sounds better than "fitfully amusing lightweight writer," although that's probably closer to the truth. There are hardly any chuckles here, and even few smiles, given the subject and its potential (whether you practice yoga or not, there IS something funny about contorting yourself into odd shapes in a warm, dark room with a bunch of strangers). But the book moves along agreeably enough, as the 40-something author (a sometime McSweeney's contribut

    Neal Pollack calls himself a comic writer. Which sounds better than "fitfully amusing lightweight writer," although that's probably closer to the truth. There are hardly any chuckles here, and even few smiles, given the subject and its potential (whether you practice yoga or not, there IS something funny about contorting yourself into odd shapes in a warm, dark room with a bunch of strangers). But the book moves along agreeably enough, as the 40-something author (a sometime McSweeney's contributor who briefly touches on his falling-out with mastermind Dave Eggers) learns how to do downward dog and other asanas in his journey from sarcastic, out-of-shape schlub to sarcastic, somewhat more fit yogi. There's some padding along the way - his trips to yoga retreats get kind of repetitive - and you'll just have to take his word for it that yoga changed him emotionally, because he seems to adopt the same comic detachment at the end as at the start. But "Stretch" is not a bad read, especially if you're into the subject, and at least he never takes himself too seriously - a yoga hazard, as anyone who's listened to an anusara teacher drone on can attest. So namaste, Neal - the light in us honors your light little book.

  • Elizabeth

    My hit or miss practice of yoga enhances my life and gives me a "value-added" quality of life. So this title intrigued me. The book chronicles seven years in the life of Pollack, from his first yoga class to the point when he is actually teaching a class himself. In the meantime, he literally travels the world to try out different classes and practices. The voice of the book sometimes was annoying since the author is a knob (which he freely admits). But I was glad I stuck with it because some ve

    My hit or miss practice of yoga enhances my life and gives me a "value-added" quality of life. So this title intrigued me. The book chronicles seven years in the life of Pollack, from his first yoga class to the point when he is actually teaching a class himself. In the meantime, he literally travels the world to try out different classes and practices. The voice of the book sometimes was annoying since the author is a knob (which he freely admits). But I was glad I stuck with it because some very important points were made. Namely, yoga is great and the majority of people doing it are trying to improve themselves and/or become enlightened. I am giving myself a personal challenge to be more routine about my practice myself after reading the book. (I am a decade older than when Pollack ended the book at 40 and was considering that "old"!) Maybe I don't like Pollack's "knobbishness" (a word? maybe not, but you get what I mean) because I recognize that trait in myself. Ha ha. I rarely admit it it in writing, though. Ha ha. Ah yes, the ego, lots of good discussion about that in this book, too!

  • Pam

    Although there WERE times here that I laughed...AND LAUGHED out loud, and I liked his review of much of yoga, I got quite tired of Neal Pollack being 'witty' and I just did not 'groove' onto his drug habit. I actually didn't like the guy although I gather he's likable. I guess you have to know him to like him.

    Yoga-wise, however, I liked the book enough. At first i thought I recommend it as a 'good read' but knowing my reading friends as I do...nah. Just one of my goofy, curious eBook choices fr

    Although there WERE times here that I laughed...AND LAUGHED out loud, and I liked his review of much of yoga, I got quite tired of Neal Pollack being 'witty' and I just did not 'groove' onto his drug habit. I actually didn't like the guy although I gather he's likable. I guess you have to know him to like him.

    Yoga-wise, however, I liked the book enough. At first i thought I recommend it as a 'good read' but knowing my reading friends as I do...nah. Just one of my goofy, curious eBook choices from the library.

  • Damon

    This was... It wasn't bad? But it... just wasn't that good. Pollack seems like a dick, which is sort of the point. But, between reveling in being a dick, and talking about how yoga made him less of a dick, it seemed like there should be... a book, of some kind?

    Mostly, this is a general chronological list of things that happened, mostly related to yoga. I think it's maybe meant to show a ... progression? Spiritual development and growth, a life enhanced by the practice? But mostly, it seems like

    This was... It wasn't bad? But it... just wasn't that good. Pollack seems like a dick, which is sort of the point. But, between reveling in being a dick, and talking about how yoga made him less of a dick, it seemed like there should be... a book, of some kind?

    Mostly, this is a general chronological list of things that happened, mostly related to yoga. I think it's maybe meant to show a ... progression? Spiritual development and growth, a life enhanced by the practice? But mostly, it seems like he just kind of stays an unhealthy dick. His physical condition, often commented on, doesn't seem that much improved after the years of practice, and the "best self" he's searching for seems... maybe somewhat closer at hand, but not really realized?

    I don't know - I don't want to criticize someone else's journey. But, I guess I can criticize the book about it? It's just not that interesting - maybe if I knew or cared more about yoga culture. I was hoping for a more personal account, of how this affected his life, at a time when some personal enlightenment might benefit me? But, that's not so much what's found here.

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