Regarding the letter “Pole dancing debases yoga,” (April 30) in response to Kylie Mendonca’s article about the Yoga Centre (“Move your body,” April 16), Mendonca reported that yoga was being made more accessible, not by offering pole dancing, but through the Yoga Centre’s new Yoga Therapy programs, as people with chronic pain, illness, disease, and injury find a typical yoga class in this town is not possible due to their condition. The fact that the Yoga Centre has chosen to offer pole-dancing classes is no different from my choice to offer various forms of movement weekly, including women’s ecstatic dance, aikido (martial art), gyrotonics and gyrokinesis, as well as various forms of yoga: pregnancy, intro to yoga, vinyasa yoga, beginner yoga, and yoga therapy.
Pole dancing in studios today is a movement form, instructed and presented as a Pole fitness activity. Just as gymnastics use horizontal bars or aerial dancers wrap themselves in fabric into beautiful shapes, pole dancing has transformed itself and empowers women to hold their body weight, and improve strength, balance, and body mechanics. There are national and international sport competitions and pole dancing is up for approval for the Olympics. I was raised in San Luis Obispo and being a local business owner consider it a gift and opportunity to provide people a safe place where they can attain their ideal health, both mentally and physically. It would be out of the question that I would offer a program that would debase yoga and its tradition or “perpetuate the culture of pornography” or “objectify women”.