January 14, 2012

Does Yoga Wreck Your Body?

The New York Times has done it again:  Another Sunday magazine article that seems to focus on discouraging us from exercising. This article, titled "How Yoga Wrecks Your Body" ( gives a very negative picture of the practice. The author blames yoga instructors and "ego" for many yoga related injuries.  He also indicts yoga itself, citing evidence that several common yoga poses are high risk, and should not be performed at all. It is true that some instructors (and students) have turned yoga into a competitive sport.  There are instructors who push students (and students who push themselves) past an area of comfort to actual injury.  Many poses are controversial, and should not be attempted by those with certain risk factors.  The plow and various headstands are the most contested positions for all participants.  Strokes and nerve damage are rare but possible dangers.

However, it should be clear that any type of physical activity has risks, and that anything performed to an extreme will eventually cause an injury.  This is why it is crucial to find an instructor who will honor your physical limitations.  Even more essential is for you to listen to your body, IF IT HURTS DON'T DO IT!  Yoga has many mental and physical benefits, take the time to find a true teacher, focus on your own progress and you should be able to avoid injury.
(For more on yoga see the post from Oct. 27, 2011)

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