Unlikely Positions (in Unlikely Places)

Elizabeth Gowing is not a likely yogini. She is too fond of cake and to-do lists, and sometimes falls over on her mat.

Yoga has taken Elizabeth Gowing on journeys both inside and out. In Unlikely Positions (in Unlikely Places), she follows yoga around Britain – from the village hall where a quivering triangle pose is interrupted by the council recycling collection, to the soaring aerial yoginis of Surrey. She discovers prisoners finding solace in child’s pose, children finding expression in dancer pose, and dancers sitting bendily in cobbler’s pose. Her feet start to hurt and she realizes that yoga is a current of shared experience that runs quietly through British society, through Middle England to the nation’s extremes. In schools and hospitals, from Newcastle to Nottingham, East Anglia to West Kilbride, she untangles the Ashtanga from the Kundalini, the Sanskrit from the whimsical new-age, and finds the ways that yoga is rebuilding communities and lives – and her own wobbling body.

Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, Unlikely Positions (in Unlikely Places) describes her yogic adventures and the characters met along the way. It’s a story of ancient wisdom solving modern-day problems, as well as the exultation of finally mastering the Crow.

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