The Great Oom

The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America [Buy from Amazon]
by Robert Love
The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America

“The amazing story of how yoga came to America-and the charming rogue who made it possible.”

In Jazz Age New York, there was no place hotter than the Clarkstown Country Club, where celebrities such as Leopold Stokowski mingled with Vanderbilts, Goodriches, and Great War spies. They came for the club’s circuses and burlesques but especially for the lectures on the subject at the heart of the club’s mission: yoga. Their guru was the notorious Pierre Bernard, who trained with an Indian master and instructed his wealthy followers in the asanas and the modern yogic lifestyle.

Robert Love traces this American obsession from moonlit Tantric rituals in San Francisco to its arrival in New York, where Bernard’s teachings were adopted by Wall Streeters and Gilded Age heiresses, who then bankrolled a luxurious ashram on the Hudson River-the first in the nation. Though today’s practitioners know little of Bernard, they can thank his salesman’s persistence for sustaining our interest in yoga despite generations of naysayers.

In this surprising, sometimes comic story, Love uncovers the forgotten life and times of the colorful, enigmatic character who brought us hatha yoga. The Great Oom delves into the murky intersection of mysticism, money, and celebrity that gave rise to the creation of one of America’s most popular practices and a fivebillion-dollar industry.

The Great Oom (Penguin Group)

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Book Reviews

Publishers Weekly – Nonfiction Book Reviews – 3/1/2010
Kirkus Reviews: Nonfiction – 3/01/2010 (must be subscriber)
Yoga Journal – 8/25/2010

March 1, 2010 Post Under - Read More

4 Responses to “The Great Oom”

  1. [...] Robert Love has just published a biography of Bernard titled The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America, a name modeled after “Omnipotent Oom” given to Bernard by the local press after reported accusations of such things as “wild Oriental music and women’s cries, but not those of distress.?” I refer you to Love’s lively biography for more details about Bernard’s life. [...]

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  3. [...] Robert Love has just published a biography of Bernard titled The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America, a name modeled after “Omnipotent Oom” given to Bernard by the local press after reported accusations of such things as “wild Oriental music and women’s cries, but not those of distress.?” I refer you to Love’s lively biography for more details about Bernard’s life. [...]

  4. […] Robert Love has just published a biography of Bernard titled The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America, a name modeled after “Omnipotent Oom” given to Bernard by the local press after reported accusations of such things as “wild Oriental music and women’s cries, but not those of distress.” 4 I refer you to Love’s lively biography for more details about Bernard’s life. […]

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