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Want a reading with your downward-facing dog?

Neal Pollackyoga

Is this the best way to listen to an author read from their work? Neal Pollack, who mostly writes comedic memoirs, will find out soon. He's set up to a read at a yoga class in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Pollack, a former devotee of drinking, poker playing and punk rock, has shifted his focus -- first to fatherhood, with his 2007 book "Alternadad," and now yoga. His book "Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude" is coming out in August on Harper Perennial.

Readings, which should be an exciting way to connect with an author, often wind up being uncomfortable, over-lit affairs in bookstores, sometimes interrupted by wandering customers. I'm all for readings that break that mold. But is a reading during a yoga class fun or folly?

Pollack has certainly found a very non-bookstore environment. And he's taking his book about yoga to his target audience, people who care about yoga.

But -- and I ask this as a very infrequent yoga practitioner -- is a yoga class really a good place for a reading? Aren't you supposed to be focusing on your stretches, or on centering yourself? Should you be following along with a story, listening to someone else's tales of yoga-ing? Isn't there some physical exertion involved that might distract you from what's being said? Plus, we're talking about Neal Pollack, who can be very funny -- is it all right to interrupt a cobra pose with a blurt of laughter?

For those who are ready for a reading with their downward-facing dog, Neal Pollack's yoga class and reading is at Shakti Box in Los Feliz on Thursday, Feb. 11.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Downward-facing dogs on a beach. Credit: meredithwz via Flickr

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Not trying to be a purist, but one of the main goals of Yoga is internal focus. This experiment is an outward activity. Are we trying to Starbucksing Yoga ? Interesting, but what's the point?


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