By Claudie Benjamin

Years ago, Tahji (Beth) LaComb-Wolpert was a professional dancer when she was badly injured in a terrible car accident. Recovery was long and difficult, but yoga was the most helpful tool that helped her to recover. Yoga provided a way to exercise when most movement during that period was difficult, and anything too strenuous might have caused further injury. Beth recovered her strength and mobility. She was able to dance again, her career encompassing ballet, modern, international character and Broadway. And embarking on a life-changing path, she pursued training in yoga and meditation.

In time, she became an expert teacher, with students regularly coming to her for training at the various studios on the Upper West Side she has occupied since the 1990s. Since Covid, her home in the Apple Bank building on West 73rd Street and Broadway includes her studio, Yoga Bees are Beautiful, where she teaches yoga and meditation classes for students aged 8 to 85.

Describing her meditation approach, Beth said, “I teach Sound and Light Meditation, and although I am of the Dharma Mittra lineage, I also include Iyengar, Jivamukti, and physical therapy techniques.” Her yoga instruction draws from many disciplines.

Children and adolescents come to the studio to correct movement patterns they’ve been told need correction or because parents are looking for an active pursuit for their children, especially those not inclined to sports. Dancers of all ages are drawn to yoga for stress and pain relief and as a way to enhance strength, grace, and fluidity of motion.

Photo of Tajhi LaComb-Wolpert in a yoga poseWant to see Beth in action? The YouTube channel is filled with yoga and Pilates classes that people can do at home. She also teaches on Zoom seven days a week.

Within just the last few months, Beth has had two hip replacements. At first, finding a way to do the exercise necessary for healing was a daunting challenge. Even sitting was painful. But with patience (not her forte, she admitted), knowledge of yoga, and the guidance of two outstanding physical therapists, she said her recovery is going well.

While the isolation of the Covid period made in-person classes impossible, it also prompted two of Beth’s new creative ventures. One improbably was a series of quirky, whimsical videos depicting yoga classes presented from the point of her dog Leila, a gentle beast she calls a very Upper West Side pup. The videos are posted on the Yoga Bees are Beautiful website.

The other production, a hugely enterprising project, is a coffee table book of photographs depicting young dancers (who, at the time of the photo shoot) were students at the School of American Ballet. Eduardo Patino beautifully photographed them as they carried out yoga routines as part of classwork with Beth.  She said that about 40 of the images of these students were used for three years of calendars. “But I had about 1000 more photographs, and these became the basis for the book.” She explained further, “I didn’t want a book with a lot of text about me or about the history of yoga, but rather to create something beautiful and interesting to look at and enjoy.” Her book entitled Yoga Bees are Beautiful is available on Amazon.

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