Style Scholar: A Style of Being

A Style of Being

Robert Love’s book The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America tells the true story of Pierre Bernard, who reinvented Americans’ bodies and souls with yoga and clean living in the 1920s – at a luxurious retreat in Nyack, New York, complete with elephants and a three-ring circus. This fall, envision the best version of you – and be it – by taking a yoga class, or by dressing the part of a mysterious, confident yogi.


The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America, by Robert Love, Viking, 2010

$27.95, Fremont Place Book Co.
(621 N. 35th St.)


“Seen coming up the steps of the bluestone terrace was Bernard’s herd of
four elephants … ”

Kaas Glassworks decoupage plate, $145, Lucca (5332 Ballard Ave. NW)



“He understood how to Westernize this ancient philosophy … ”

Peking Handicrafts “Peace”
pillow, $45, Damsalfly (5346 Ballard Ave. NW)


“[Nyack] was an ideal destination for Bernard’s vision: a country club—academy … a truly American ashram.”

Palladium “Baggy” hi-tops, $70,
Zebra Club (1901 1st Ave.)





“Unlike the swamis of India, [Bernard] believed in material success as
well as spiritual enlightenment.”

Handmade Chemical Wedding purse, $337, Momo (600 S. Jackson St.)


“I am a god, but I have condescended to put on
the habit of man, that I may perform the duties of a yogi and reveal true religion to the elect of America.”

Frank Dandy boxer briefs, $25,
ian (1919 2nd Ave.)




“The idea of a sacred, sensual temple dancer, wrapped in precious jewels and worshipped by men, was well fixed in the popular imagination … ”

Handmade silver and freshwater
pearl earrings, $150, similar styles available at Something Silver (University Village)




“Bernard himself was a talented magician … ”

Hand-knit wool “Conjurer’s Hood,” $175,



“Hindu Tantric
ritual revolves around
the worship of the goddess Shakti … ”

Jade Harmony Mats, prices vary, SHAKTI Vinyasa Yoga (2238 NW Market St.; see for class schedule)



“Yoga was now taking
its place alongside the traditional Vanderbilt pastimes of yachts, Thoroughbreds, and entertaining.”

Nightcap yoga pants, $168,
Hip Zephyr (6421 Phinney Ave. N)