Letters for the Week of August 24 

Readers sound off on teaching yoga, Toby Keith, and food trucks.

"Thinking About a Career in Yoga?," Education and Careers, 8/10

An Embarrassment of Riches

I have been torn about teacher trainings that cost a lot and do not produce any for-sure employment (even as a supplement to a regular career). However, I continue my education in yoga for my own development and well-being. I trust that the money is well spent and that payoffs may come in different forms later in life. Actually, periods when I was in deep study and practice during anusara immersions — such as the ones that Katchie Ananda teaches as prerequisites to teacher trainings — have been some of the best times in my life. Yoga is really about helping us all be our best selves. Whether or not I'll ever make any money doing what feels like my passion remains to be seen. Seems like everywhere in the world is becoming saturated with yoga teachers, and I think it's a good "problem" to have.

Malika Omawale, Oakland

Yoga Has Value

As someone who has just committed to participate in one of the teacher training programs mentioned in the article, I found the piece to be very well-written. Thanks.

I had some fears when I thought about teacher training: that I would be perceived as less than fully committed to yoga or to teaching yoga (given that I am also working on a Ph.D and am planning to find a full-time job that employs that degree when I finish) — not to mention that I might become just another yoga teacher in a place where there are so many talented ones.

Nonetheless, my excitement to learn more deeply about the history, philosophy, and anatomy of yoga outweighs my fears, and I'm hopeful that I will be able to share my yoga training without worrying too much about the money, since I hopefully won't be relying on it as my primary income source.

This being said, I have the highest respect for the full-time yoga teachers I know or have studied with who make their living doing what they love: teaching yoga. Theirs is a level of passion and commitment to the study and practice of yoga that brings great benefits to the rest of us, and should be rewarded with a cash flow that at least allows them to get by financially.

I don't believe yoga teachers should have to live on bread and water when there are so many people with disposable income in the Bay Area looking for meaningful ways to spend their time. Most yoga teachers I've encountered in the Bay Area are passionate about teaching and about giving their pupils the tools to bring balance into their own lives, and I choose not to see them as potential "hustlers."

The Bay Area may be saturated with yoga-teacher hopefuls, but the flip side is that it's still one of the best places to explore yoga classes, styles, instructors, and teacher training programs.

Maria Bowman, Oakland

A Venti-Sized Market

Good article. Interesting times. Yoga teachers are starting to become like Starbucks — one on every corner.

I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching yoga for a living. My experience is that it is certainly not easy to make a buck at first. But that's not my primary motivation in teaching. It's a good job and a noble profession — rewarding in many ways. It's a good challenge to remain balanced in the practice and the business at the same time.

Jim Coughlin, Pleasanton

"Acupuncture for Detox," Education and Careers, 8/10

Acupuncture Works

Thank you for writing about the acupuncture issue in Berkeley. I never forget to tell smokers about Berkeley's Tobacco Prevention Program, which sometimes offers free acupuncture or hypnosis.

The acupuncture worked for me. They offered a few more sessions in the drug rehab at Herrick. I haven't smoked in more than ten years. Only problem, I have to say, is that acupuncture works too well! I can't be around any cigarette or marijuana smoke now without nearly keeling over coughing for a few days after exposure.

Jengiz Haas, Oakland

"Toby Keith and the American Way," Music, 8/10

How Do You Like Me Now?!

Wow! That article was really distasteful.

Sounds like you might be the angry American, dear. How sad to write in that manner.

"Keith thanked the troops too many times to count." Really? Too many times? Your head peacefully sleeps in a free country — I don't think we can thank someone too many times, whether it be a fireman, policeman, military man, doctor, nurse, or any person of service.

And: "They're wasted and angry and occasionally offensive, but these people aren't idiots — they're just acting like it." From the sounds of your article, it looks like you handpicked two or three people that fit your stereotypical form of writing and then summed up the whole night from that! It is shameful that you did not expand your thoughts and views to look beyond your already-formed opinion.

I was with a group of seven people that go to this concert every year. It is a harmless coming together of people who enjoy being patriotic and listening to fun, light-hearted (sometimes real-life) music. We live in a country where we are allowed to do that, and we should be able to do that without journalists writing narrow-minded articles on people who were not hurting or harming anybody. Kind of like the bully on the playground, isn't it?

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