The original novel that’s been recast into Yoga Bootcamp kept the action to a single day – albeit while recalling past events leading up to those 24 hours. The revised version retains that structure.
At the time I drafted the story, I was largely in the dark about what happened to the real ashram after the year-and-a-half I resided there. Nearly all of the teachers or organizations bringing Asian spiritual traditions to America eventually suffered sexual or financial scandals, or so it seemed. While introducing that element would have led to a juicier book, I refrained from the temptation, in large part because I wanted to retain the euphoric innocence we experienced or aspired to.
A few of the former residents I tracked down while drafting that story shared my sense that something powerful and life-changing had happened with us, but much of our teacher and the teaching remained an enigma.
A visit to the site, in fact, confirmed a sense I’d been ostracized and that our teacher had died in the interim.
In the years since the book first appeared, I’ve reconnected with some of the more central figures from the period. We’ve had intense emails and telephone conversations, and not everything was as rosy as my recollections. I hadn’t been ostracized, but the elements of self-destruction were in place.
I could have taken the revised work more in the direction of tragedy – there would be a morbid fascination, I’d assume – but chose instead for a comedy. Bootcamp was a term we accepted gleefully.
Still, there were other big changes.