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'Yoga is dangerous' article spurs controversy

By Christine Mattice     Jan 15, 2012 in Health
Proponents of the soothing art of yoga were outraged on Sunday after reading that their healthy practice was not very healthy, according to a New York Times feature story.
The article, titled "How yoga can wreck your body" took up several pages of the prestigious New York Times. In it, senior science writer William Broad reported that yoga causes an enormous amount of injuries in those who practice it. Moreover, he attributed these injuries to "over-ambitious and under-taught yoga moves."
The news sent shockwaves through an industry that typically teaches that yoga is the cure for almost every physical, emotional, and mental ailment. People weren't quiet about their opinions, either.
According to The Guardian:
Drivel, sensationalism, disgraceful hype, bizarre and misleading were just some of the criticisms posted online and expressed to the Observer. After more than 700 comments had been posted on the New York Times website, there was no room for more.
Not only were the regular practitioners of yoga upset, but so was the yoga industry, who rakes in more than $5 billion annually.
Though the backlash against the article was venomous, Broad quoted doctors who claimed that they were increasingly seeing patients who had been injured from practicing yoga. He also spoke of unqualified yoga teachers.
This controversy from Broad's article--as well as the injuries--may not have been quite so severe, however, had the yoga industry not billed itself as a harmless practice of postures (rather than exercises.). Though Yoga, which originated in India, is a spiritual discipline designed to merge the mind, body, and spirit of the practitioner, few Americans practice it this way. Rather, the most popular type of Yoga practiced in America is Hatha Yoga, whiich concentrates on the physical aspect of beings.
In other words, the form of yoga most Americans practice is an exercise that, by its very nature, is always subject to injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Injury Center:
More than 10,000 people receive treatment in the nation’s emergency departments (ED) each day for injuries sustained in SRE [sports, recreation, and exercise] activities. At least one of every five ED visits for an injury results from participation in sports or recreation
So yoga, like any exercise, should be practiced with caution.
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