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The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America
Stefanie Syman. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-374-23676-2
Yoga conquers America--and is conquered in its turn--in this labyrinthine cultural history. Journalist Syman traces American enthusiasm for yoga back to Thoreau and follows it through cycles of waxing and waning popularity: it was decried by Victorians for its association with madness and tantric sex rituals, celebrated in the 1960s for its association with altered states of consciousness (and tantric sex rituals), and ubiquitously embraced in the 21st century as a wholesome, anodyne exercise program. The author argues that; even as the …