Okay, so I stole that heading from Marshall Hagins, but I loved it too much not to use it. So here’s the article that has gotten so much attention lately…
And here are the responses…
- Washington Post: Yoga Gurus go to War
- How the NYT Can Wreck Yoga (by Marshall Hagins)
- My 2 Cents about “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” (by Leslie Kaminoff)
- The Guardian: ‘Yoga can damage your body’ article throws exponents off balance
When I first read the article I wasn’t as worked up as some yogi’s. I took it with a grain of salt knowing that the flaws in anything can be taken out of context and made believable. Yes, it’s unfortunate that the article may scare some people away from yoga. But I think that Leslie Kaminoff said it so well that I just have to use his words… “This article said ‘shoulderstand, plow, and head stand are dangerous.’ It didn’t say, when certain people do it who have certain things going on in their body in a certain way, it can be dangerous. That’s a big fat ‘duh.’ I mean, who didn’t know that?”
The reason yoga is held so high and has so many health claims is not just simply because of the poses. It’s not simply the activity. It is the state of mind that you fall into while breathing deep and stretching your body in such a way that it feels good. If you go so far that it doesn’t feel good, you shouldn’t be there. Simple as that.
“When there is a great potential for making money, quality is usually the first thing to be sacrificed. Fast food, anyone? It is unfortunate that this is exactly what we are facing now – yoga has been McDona-fied. It has been reduced from a practice that traditionally demanded dedication, discipline, sacrifice, humility, surrender, love, devotion, and self-investigation – and yes, suffering through rigorous practice – to something that one can now learn to ‘teach’ in a weekend. Or, more popularly, in a mere 200 hours you can become a bonafide, registered yoga instructor. 200 hours is spit. It is a joke. And it is a joke that is leading a tradition – one which, granted, has even in India been subject to ridicule – to an even greater harm. We have an opportunity, in the West, to bring these transformative teachings to places where they will result in the greatest good. It is true that this is already happening – in schools, prisons, hospitals, with veterans, and as well with people who simply walk into a class off of the street – but it is also true that a rotten apple can spoil the barrel, and the yoga industry apple is a mighty big apple.” ~ Marshall Hagins
We shall see what The Science of Yoga book has to bring. Hopefully not so many inaccuracies.
Happy and healthy practice to you,
I agree with you. Leslie Kaminoff’s video is interesting but it’s a strange argument because he’s not really refuting the article (and the statements made there and in the book), he’s refuting the strong reaction to the article. I never had any of these impressions that he seems to think everyone who read the article had.
All I got from it was – listen better to your own body (some people don’t), keep your ego out of it (which some people don’t), hot yoga can be dangerous – which we’ve already heard, some (maybe only a few) of the motions are not “designed” for americans who sit at a desk all day (which makes sense to me) and watch some of the poses where you can be at more risk of putting alot of pressure on your neck (which we are always warned about when we do them in yoga) and some that put your knees at risk (like pigeon pose).
it’s really unfortunately that alot of people may have over reacted to the article and that the yoga community feels attacked.
I just think it’s always good to hear about some of these risks (even if there are few and far between) to make us more aware. not to put fear into us. just so that our awareness can be refocused – becomes some things become routine and we may slip into some bad practices without really realizing it. human nature!
I think that the writer of the book would probably agree with everything said in the video. : )
Here’s a link to a Guardian article also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/14/yoga-can-damage-body-row?newsfeed=true
Thank you for sharing the Guardian article. I find it very sad that yoga teachers would react that way when faced with their students injuries. Blaming it on “bad karma” or simply walking away is not acceptable. Not to mention, rude.
I fall into that category of the 200 hour teacher training and I recognize that I am by far not the most knowledgeable. I just have a passion for it. I tell my students, “Yoga is not the cure-all. You can hurt yourself in yoga just as much as in any other exercises. The reason that yoga has a low injury rate is because of the mindfulness that is used during practice.” Unfortunately that injury rate is increasing because yoga really is being “McDona-fied.” I agree that the major problem with yoga injuries is under-qualified teachers, ego, and no self-awareness.
I teach in a local gym (YMCA) and I don’t even include plough, shoulderstand, wheel, arm-balances, and definitely not headstand. The gym population isn’t ready for those poses. They are not in the mindset to listen to their body and their breath, they are more in the mindset of fitness. However, when they are ready for more I can direct them to a yoga studio. In my studio classes I am more willing to ask what the students want to work on and help them with their headstand. I would never dream of calling someone a wimp when they said they were unsteady or uncomfortable with it.
I believe you can do the very basic poses of yoga for your entire life and reap the benefits just as much as someone who can put their leg behind their head, stand on their head, levitate, or any other crazy thing they claim to be able to do. Who’s to say that the most advanced person in the class is actually a good person? Who’s to say that they are more fit, more zen, more peaceful that the person who struggles with sun salutations?
Thank you for your comment 🙂
[…] that this William Broad guy just likes the attention. (William Broad is the guy that wrote “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body…” Oh yeah! Remember […]