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Molly Chanson
Fallen Star: A Return to Self through the Eight Limbs of Yoga
After being married for ten years and having two children, author and yogi Molly Chanson lives with a nagging feeling that something is wrong. Her suspicion that her husband is having an affair is further complicated by her addiction to alcohol, poor body image, and a lost sense of self. Having first practiced yoga with her mother as a child, Chanson returns to a daily practice and discovers the profound impact that yoga can have on one's physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Fallen Star is Chanson’s account of her far-reaching journey of healing guided by Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, which includes asana (poses), pranayama (breath), and meditation, as well as self-discipline, surrender, and more. Chanson shows how the tenets of ancient yoga philosophy can be applied to a broad spectrum of experiences shared by women, ranging from dating, marriage, and motherhood to loss of identity and focus on one's appearance. Here are lessons for women who seek to unravel stories and pain that have prevented them from living a complete and fulfilled life, to find their true selves, and to awaken to new possibilities. Here is a story about tapping into the resilience, courage, and hope lying deep within the human spirit.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Plot: Chanson’s memoir is a testament to how yoga can allow a person to tap into intuition and introspection to come to terms with a personal misfortune. Mixing her testament with the yoga poses allows the reader to see the release of her stress and come to an understanding and solution to her difficult situation.

Prose: In this well-written book, the author successfully blends her testimony with the practice of yoga and is able to take a deep dive into the tenets and ancient practices of yoga in a way that is still easy to understand. Her honest approach to her story draws the audience in and allows the reader to see how she evolved as a person while overcoming her tragedies.

Originality: Chanson’s ability to blend her story with the elements and teachings of yoga and help the reader understand how to put it into practice is original. Using familiar poses, the reader will understand how to tap into individual intuition.

Character/Execution: Despite Chanson’s situation, she is honest and transparent, and her story is a good example of what it takes for someone to work through any challenging situation. There is no doubt that practicing yoga helped her, and her end goal is to help others as well.

Date Submitted: November 29, 2022

Melinda Facal for Readers’ Favorite

Fallen Star: A Return to Self Through the Eight Limbs of Yoga by Molly Chanson shares the compelling story of how the practice of yoga ultimately helped to bring healing and contentment to Chanson’s life. The author seamlessly incorporates information about the eight limbs of yoga with the impact each had on her own life, as well as how these practices can benefit others. In addition to the movement of yoga, details about meditation, breath, and the practice of presence, other significant guidelines of the discipline are shared. Chanson honestly and courageously shares difficult and traumatic experiences from her own life. As she was going through the pain of addiction and betrayal, the discipline of yoga became an anchor and a positive guide for Chanson. 

Molly Chanson’s Fallen Star: A Return to Self Through the Eight Limbs of Yoga is a poignant and inspiring memoir. Molly Chanson shares her story with truth and offers hope to others who are going through difficult times. While letting readers into some of her most painful experiences, and the toll these tribulations had on her daily life, Chanson shows tremendous strength and resilience in coping with these challenges and reveals how eventually she healed and learned from these trials. This memoir conveys a powerful and personal experience of loss, betrayal, and addiction, and how the practice of yoga can help to bring clarity, insight, and understanding throughout life. Molly Chanson writes with warmth and empathy and her story will provide encouragement that hardships not only can be endured but overcome.