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Finding My Balance: a Memoir
by Mariel Hemingway
2003

Most Yoga enthusiasts come to realize that their practice is a mirror of their lives, both internal and external. So it's no surprise, really, that film star Mariel Hemingway (who owns a Yoga studio in Sun Valley, Idaho) would choose to introduce each chapter of her memoir with an appropriate Yoga pose. The result is a book as open as Mariel's beautiful backbends.

Here is a woman who had the cards stacked against her if she wanted anything like a normal, happy life. The granddaughter of famed novelist Ernest Hemingway, Mariel was born into a troubled family. Her parents had a marriage fraught with tension and her sisters were overloaded with emotional baggage - like her grandfather before her, middle sister Margaux committed suicide. Instead of being the carefree baby of the family, Mariel found herself in the role of her mother's caretaker. Then, at the age of 13, she was thrust into the spotlight when she outshone Margaux in Lipstick. Yet, in spite of celebrity and upheaval, Mariel yearned for balance and centeredness.

That she has found it is nothing less than a miracle - Mariel has had to battle with her own inner demons, from coming to grips with her body image and eating disorders to dealing with her husband's battle with cancer. Somehow, the insecure young girl has become a lovely woman and relatively sane mother and wife. Judging from the way she approaches the Asanas that open each chapter, she has also developed into a Yogini who deeply understands how the practice is intertwined with body and soul. She ends the book with a sequence of Yoga poses, including descriptions that are as well written as any instructional book on Yoga.

Mariel Hemingway's book is definitely not your typical celebrity memoir. While it explores a life of fame and fortune, it also simmers with spiritual life. It's a unique book that will be appreciated by fans and Yoga practitioners alike.

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