Yoga may have made Neal Pollack calmer, but, don’t worry, he isn’t any less cynical.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have lost all my snark and cynicism,” said Pollack, the author of the parenting memoir “Alternadad” and the literary satire, “The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature.”
Now the Los Angeles-based author has released a new memoir, “Stretch: The Unlikely Making Of A Yoga Dude,” and will read from it at DUMBO’s powerHouse on Sept. 15.
Neal Pollack? Yogi? Believe it or not, Pollack started taking stretching classes as a way to get out of a middle-aged rut. For people who knew him, the yoga came as a surprise.
“I’m a pretty bitter, selfish, grouchy guy, a professional jerk, really,” said Pollack. “My friends thought it was a strange match. There was this moment where, on my 38th birthday, where I was opening my presents from my wife. And she had gotten me a new mat, new mat cover, yoga shorts and a yoga shirt, and I was excited about all of it. I realized I had gone down the path and I wasn’t coming back.”
Indeed, not long after starting, Pollack completely delved into it, volunteering at a yoga studio, attending yoga conferences and rock shows, becoming a reporter for Yoga Journal magazine, taking a two-week yoga retreat in Thailand, and getting his yoga teaching certificate.
This wouldn’t be a Pollack book if it wasn’t satirizing something, and the writer never holds back in mocking yoga culture, from the New-Age pretension to the lame music.
“My attitude to it is almost sickeningly positive, even though there are elements of the culture that I find incredibly annoying and cheesy,” said Pollack. “Despite the fact that it’s over-commercialized and is often accompanied by a pretty lame musical soundtrack, it’s still the best thing I’ve ever discovered for calming the mind and body, which is never more evidenced in my increasingly less volatile reactions to it.”
Even though he does have his teaching certificate, Pollack’s not quitting his day job just yet. But he may do some poses for you at his DUMBO reading.
“That’s the way I’ve gone about my business for the last decade — I always put on a show,” said Pollack. “A headstand’s always good because I can do it, and it looks vaguely impressive.”
Neal Pollack reads from “Stretch: The Unlikely Making Of A Yoga Dude” at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], Sept. 15 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.powerhousebooks.com.