The New Yoga for People Over 50, fifteen years later, still going strong

This week a reader posted the 50th review of The New Yoga for People Over 50, a milestone of sorts. This book was published in 1997 and (I’m grateful to say) is still going strong. All told, it took about 20 years to pull this baby together. I wrote the first chapters in a small hut in the river bottom, not far from where I live now. The hut had a shower, and I discovered that the steam from the shower affected the big bulky computer I was working on. So I had to arrange my writing time around people’s showers, to make sure the atmosphere was not too damp.After many years of interviewing older teachers and other inspiring elders from all over the world (including Indra Devi at age 94 and Beatrice Wood at 100), getting photo permission from B.K.S. Iyengar, organizing photo shoots, etc., the book grew more and more out of control—way beyond the size of an encyclopedia.The whole concept of getting an editor never occurred to me. I didn’t know enough about writing to realize I needed one!Finally, after years of rejection letters, one of my students introduced me to an agent who had just moved to Ojai: Barbara Neighbors Deal. Barbara succeeded in getting me a bona fide book contract with Health Communications, Inc., famous for their best-selling self-help books. It was a match made in heaven.I excitedly signed the book contract. A month or so later, they actually sent meenough money to cut back on teaching for a few months. I chained myself to the computer and sweated away. I chopped away at the manuscript and selected the most suitable photographs. Twelve-page interviews were cut to two-page vignettes.
I optimistically submitted all the material. The publisher’s editors and layout people got to work. A few months later, the galleys arrived. Except for a few upside-down images, it looked perfectly fine to me. During this time a new student, Karen McAuley, started coming to my classes.  She heard me talking about my book and asked to see the galleys. And then, to my utter dismay, she announced, “This book isn’t ready! It doesn’t have a spine!” A spine? My yoga book doesn’t have a spine? Turns out Karen was a seasoned New York editor. She called the publisher, stopped the presses, and took matters into her own hands.I still marvel at the synchronicity of Karen entering my life just in the nick of time. Due to her merciless, rigorous, unrelenting editing efforts, I ended up with a baby that has a spine and, consequently, a long shelf life.298812_10150423623539703_535391470_n
To Look Inside the Book click The New Yoga for People Over 50
Photo credit: Suza and her student, Sandy Yost, by Ron Seba
Photo Credit: Cover photo of Iyengar Yoga teacher Betty Eiler by Jim Jacobs


One Response to “The New Yoga for People Over 50, fifteen years later, still going strong”

  1. Suza Francina Says:

    A new 5-star review, thank you!
    Extensive and valuable information
    By Mojo (Vancouver Island)

    “Easy read, informative and interesting to even younger folks contemplating getting into yoga. If you are over 50, 60, 70, 80 or beyond, here is your avenue for restoring and maintaining good body and soul functioning! This is a very inspiring work.

    At 66 I began a vigorous yoga program along with a much younger group and although I found it rejuvenating I wondered at the wisdom of starting this at my age. I now feel completely confident that I have chosen the best path, thanks to the information I have learned in this comprehensive work. Enjoy and experience it for yourself.”


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