"Eat, Pray, Love" might do for yoga mats what "Sex and the City" did for Manolos.
The settings are worlds apart - from the Manhattan nightlife to an Indian ashram - but the premise is about the same: The main character struggles to find herself and soars in the process.
Some find Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir self-indulgent and not relatable. But when I read it, it gave me hope and instilled faith in my yoga practice.
I picked up the book just after my 23rd birthday; I was unemployed and about to move from Tallahassee back to live with my parents in St. Louis.
I had what any recent journalism school grad in the middle of a newspaper recession could want: a job where I could actually live on my entry-level salary and still write 1A stories.
There was just one small deal-breaking detail: I was absolutely miserable.
Everyone always talks about the transition from high school to college, but I think the passage from college to real life is a heck of a lot harder. Not much of the studying you do prepares you for the tricky world of office personalities and politics - things that can really affect your career aspirations.
In the midst of this ungraceful transition and a house filled with crazy roommates, I learned to devote myself to yoga. I did sun salutations many mornings and meditated regularly.
I would shut off my phone for my hour-and-a-half classes and forget about deadlines, bosses and home - and reconnect with myself.
I began to see that the rules I was taught to follow were not the absolute truth. Just as I had the power to commit to a yoga practice and redefine my perspective, I could redefine my life.
On the surface, I had a list of reasons why I should keep my day job: I had just put a $1,000 deposit on a place to live, I had no backup plan other than moving in with my parents, and I had an old car that constantly needed (expensive) repairs.
Perhaps Elizabeth Gilbert quitting her perfectly normal life and going on an odyssey around the world seems self-indulgent - but really, how selfish is to stay in a life or relationship that makes you unhappy? We all know that miserable bosses and boyfriends end up making our lives miserable, so why not take the responsibility and try and better your part?
Gilbert's travels gave me hope that one day I might be able to take the leap of faith in myself that she did. Many times we know what's best for us but we try to talk ourselves out of it. Her adventure made me think that the world has limitless possibilities.
My heart thumped and my hands shook as I surreptitiously dropped a resignation letter off on our executive editor's desk, giving him my two weeks' notice without another job lined up. But as I walked out of the office into the sunny, blue-skied morning, I realized I'd done the right thing.
I had total tranquility with my decision - in a way I have yet to comprehend. But I know my yoga practice paved the route to my peace, just as Gilbert's did for her.