In Yoga for Freedom, John P. Vourlis relates the experiences of twenty volunteers who travel to Nepal with an organization called the Imagine Foundation to raise awareness of child slavery and human trafficking in the area. Early on, Vourlis provides background information on the issue, noting that widespread poverty in Nepal “leaves children vulnerable to a form of indentured servitude known as the Kamlari system.” As the narrative progresses, Vourlis and his fellow travelers go from appreciating their mission in the abstract to fully embracing the work they’re doing. In addition to offering his own thoughts on this journey, Vourlis also brings in the voices of the other volunteers who took part. Indeed, what’s particularly interesting about the book is that it does offer multiple perspectives on the experience, thus underscoring one of the underlying themes of the book—that while everyone comes at life from a different angle, we’re all in it together and need to work with each other to make the best of it. Given the title, it’s not surprising that an interest in yoga unites all of the volunteers, but Yoga for Freedom is by no means an attempt to proselytize. Rather, it’s a heartfelt and realistic depiction of one group’s efforts to bring hope to a poverty-stricken corner of the world.
Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The
Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.