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Bent Out of Shape Over L.A. Yoga

October 19, 2003

Kudos to Paul Tullis for describing the L.A. yoga scene so accurately ("C'mon Baby, Do the Yoga Motion," Sept. 21). One thing that most distresses me about yoga as I have seen it practiced in L.A. is the need for people to have perfect bodies, perfect postures and, of course, perfect wardrobes. I have found it difficult to find a place where spirituality is truly part of the practice. Here yoga is all about marketing and business--not about the self-exploration of body and mind. Obviously a key element was lost somewhere between India and the U.S.

Katie Datko

Venice

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Tullis trashes those teachers who have made a substantial amount of money in the yoga business and those yoga students who wear designer clothes and worry about their next plastic surgery procedure. But the true benefits of yoga, in addition to good physical health, include a detached and nonjudgmental mind. This means that your ego must disappear. By focusing on how materialistic and superficial Tullis believes these yoga teachers and students to be, his ego-driven, judgmental attitude creates a barrier between himself and others that prevents him from looking deeper into the very people he scorns.

Eleanor Oths Barr

North Hollywood

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Why can't these money-mad entrepreneurs think of another name for their form of exercise? Yoga trainer Beth Shaw should take a minute from her hectic schedule to come up with a name that describes what she really teaches. A few suggestions: yo-play, posturobics and fatuoga.

Gyl Elliott

Arcadia

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Tullis failed to mention the countless teachers in L.A. who teach at community colleges, public schools, seniors' centers and small studios. Nor did his research include the studios and institutes in L.A. to which one can apply to study in a teacher-training program that requires deep dedication, sincere practice and unwavering discipline. For us, yoga is a way of life, not a competition. One of yoga's many lessons is to remain disassociated from the fruits of one's labor while being of service to humanity. L.A. is full of such teachers.

Jennifer Edwards

Culver City

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