Sacred Fire captures the emotional journey of Kino MacGregor and her spiritual awakening as she discovers the power of ashtanga yoga. This memoir barely mentions yoga poses, let alone techniques, which I was kind of hoping for, since Kino is an amazing advanced practitioner.
Nevertheless, it documents her battle with negative body image and an unknowing hatred against men. Through the practice and medication, Kino heals herself. She accepts her body and recognizes a true yogi has everything they need on the inside, just waiting to be found. Although I have not had the same types of hardship as Kino, I felt empathetic to her struggle in finding peace. The memoir is written like a journal in an easy to read way. Kino recounts certain events, with salient imagery, and her emotional, spiritual, and physicals state in them. Although the memoir does move forward in time, it isn't strictly linear. She doesn't burden the reader with references to yoga and Hinduism, but clearly states when she does, and the meaning, and it is all in small doses. In fact, she doesn't really describe ashtanga yoga clearly, but as an ashtanga practitioner, I didn't mind. She focuses on her journey rather than trying to write some yoga education.
She writes in depth about her visits to Mysore and her relationship with the late Guruji. Her struggle in changing her feminist, modern, American attitude to meet with the Indian way of life gave insight on to how women yoga practitioners may feel (although Kino did not write about taking time off for ladies' holidays! Too private I suppose).
Her accounts of visions/dreams are interesting. I am not someone who believes that they have concrete meaning outside of our minds, but I have no experience with any of the sort, so I am trying to keep an open mind. Kino herself doesn't even try to categorize them. I wonder if finding the way to inner peace and calm involves reliving unconscious memory of oneself or even someone else. Kino suggests it's necessary to remove these blocks in order to find peace. It's provoking to think that one could even experience memory of outside oneself, but I suppose I will leave that thought hanging.