Robert Love: The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America (Viking Adult) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Robert Love

The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America

Published by Viking Adult

Aug 06, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Pierre Bernard was many things: a yoga enthusiast who introduced the practice to the Western world, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, a healer, a liar, and an avid animal trainer. Bernard was such an incredibly quick and facile yoga devotee that at 21 years old, he could put himself into the “famous Kali Mudra death trance” (which involved slowing down his breathing and entering such a deep trance that a hat pin could be run completely through his tongue without any sort of reaction). He could also explain complex yogic philosophy to the masses in terms they could easily understand and apply, but to the consternation of yoga masters, he chose to use these gifts to make money. This dichotomy between a nonmaterial yogic life and a mansion with swimming pools, fountains, tennis courts, a baseball stadium, and a zoo was hard for traditionalists to stomach. His questionable “teaching” of certain attractive females was the cause for several police raids, and his name became associated with deviant sexual practices and the occult. If all of these attributes seem contradictory, they merely scratch the surface of the man known both satirically and affectionately as “The Great Oom.” The book takes a meticulous look at his life, from his humble beginnings in Leon, Iowa (a hometown that he later denied), through his scandal-packed young adulthood and the rise and surprisingly sad fall of his own personal empire. A portrait of man with good intentions and the honest desire to help others and his community while making boatloads of money emerges, and while Bernard is a twisty sort of man to get a hold of, the story will fascinate to the end. (

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July 2nd 2011

I’d yoga and this article gives me useful information. thank you for sharing your ideas

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