Book Review:Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life
Author: Brad Willis a.k.a. Bhava Ram
362, Benbella Books, $14.95
At the peak of his career, Willis broke his back. With a failed surgery, Willis was left disabled. Worse yet, in 1998 Willis was diagnosed with terminal stage IV throat cancer, a result of covering the Persian Gulf War almost ten years earlier. Suffering from his broken back and depressed by the knowledge his life would soon come to an end, Willis became hooked on various narcotics and alcohol. After an intervention staged by his family and his 2-year-old son’s encouraging words, “Get up, Daddy,” he began to dedicate the remainder of his life to sobriety and positive change through yoga.
This moving memoir follows Willis around the globe as he exposes corrupt law enforcement in the United States, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, sex-slavery in Asia, and the cocaine industry in South America among others before following him on his internal journey from darkness and depression to a hopeful future. Willis teaches you the power of mind-body healing. In practicing yoga, Willis is able to build enough muscle to support his broken back and beat his stage IV cancer by looking at his old lifestyle and making a change for the better. His oncologist deems his recovery “a miracle” while he chalks it up to finding oneness with the world and accepting the fate he had been given. This book reveals how yoga can help you get over your physical ailments as well as your emotional and mental ailments.
Although this book is a memoir, Willis provides you with numerous resources to help you gain a better understanding of yoga and mind-body healing from ancient texts to contemporary books and audio clips. It is easy to be skeptical about this lifestyle, Willis was skeptical at first himself. However, after suffering from pain and addiction for 14 years he decided to go “all-in” and it literally saved his life. He went from being immobile and bedridden, unable to lift his two year old son to doing headstands and propping his son onto his shoulders, carrying him around. These are feats Willis never thought he’d be able to accomplish, but was able to do so through perseverance and positive thinking.
Willis is aware that being fully dedicated to all of the practices of yoga, choosing a vegan diet and giving up many creature comforts is not for everyone. Perhaps reading this book may help you rethink some aspects of your life. Willis’s book can make you grateful for what you have and encourage you to try different branches of yoga whether it is Asana (poses), Pranayama (breathing techniques), or Dhyana (meditation). Your life will be affected in some way by experiencing yoga for yourself.
Warrior Pose reads like a novel; it is very exciting as it chronicles Willis’s life and what he struggles to overcome while at the same time opening your eyes to the struggles around the world. As you take this journey with Willis through his transformation it becomes very easy to reflect on your own life. Join Willis on his transformative journey to Bhava Ram, it just might save your life!