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Should You Give Up Yoga? Some Say Yoga is a Risky Business

By January 26, 2012

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yoga A recent article published in The New York Times written by William J. Broad has shone some unfavorable light onto the practice of yoga. Thank you to Daniel Strack, a Facebook Fan, who first alerted me to this article.

In the article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body? yoga teacher Glenn Black warns about the potential damaging effects of doing yoga. Black noted that Americanized yoga classes tend to be more ego-driven than aligned with spiritual practice. Teachers and students are at risk of injury when they try to force their bodies into ranges of motion that are harmful to muscles and skeletal structure.

I'm no yoga expert but I do know three people personally who have attributed their years of yoga practice as contributing to and probably causing pain they now endure (back, hip, and knee pain). Ouch. This shared with me from individuals who continue to be disciplined yoga devotees. The woman with the bad knees routinely gets massages to help give relief.

A Guide associate and yoga expert, Ann Pizer, agrees that "yoga can be hazardous to your health..." she gives her opinion on the article in her blog here.

I'm more of a Pilates gal myself, although I have practiced Kundalini Yoga in the past. I meditate while I'm sitting comfortably on a pillow (legs crossed) or upright on the couch, feet on the floor. I'm not nay-saying yoga. I think yoga has its pluses and minuses. We live on a planet of duality after all... nothing is black or white. In my view yoga has more positives going for it. My personal healing focus is primarily about balance and awareness. Any meditative practice or physical exercise can be positive when done appropriately, BUT, they can also be harmful when done in excess or without regard to possible harm.

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January 31, 2012 at 9:17 am
(1) steve says:

‘The three wishes’ movie has a good quote about this, said by Angel character in the movie.

“If you push anything too hard you get exactly its opposite; for everything contains its opposite”.

January 31, 2012 at 11:25 am
(2) Vicki Howie says:

People try to be “politically correct” and say that all styles of yoga are the same, but this has not been the case for me. Anusara yoga has been a therapeutic godsend for me — it has helped me heal knee problems, and has lessened the degree of my scoliosis (and continues to). Its Universal Principles of Alignment are the Key. But of course, you can always ignore the principles or safe guidelines of any practice. And then, injury is there as a reminder that you’ve pushed too far. This is true of even tying your shoes. And of course the risk goes up in yoga poses — especially the advanced ones. But I’ve also found out that my possibility for healing goes up too — continually expanding. Thank you YOGA!!!

January 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm
(3) Kimberley says:

I think yoga is fine but there are many types of yoga and the key is starting very slowly and learning what positions work for you and what doesn’t, and if need be, as in my case using blocks and straps to help with shortcomings in flexiblity. Yoga is not all the same. I would check out dvd’s that offer instruction in poses and styles of yoga and such and start with those, and find what you can do and can’t, perhaps incorporate a bit of cardio first to warm up the muscles to make it easier to be limber and only do 10 minutes at first if that is all you can do. I like Leslie Sansone’s Yes You Can Do Yoga, she has one for Pilates as well and Gaiam as well has a number of excellent yoga dvd’s check their website or Collage Video for the best recommendations. Peggy Cappy also has some good ones, Yoga For the Rest Of Us is one of hers and she has one for arthritis and she instructs elderly and shows how to use a chair to do poses and such. Do your research as with any kind of new exercise routine. Don’t throw yourself into Hot (Bikram) Yoga if your so new to it. I would suggest if possible also find a qualified/certified instructor in your area and perhaps see if you can get a couple of introductory classes or a beginner’s class to learn the basics. You need a slow moving style where focus is more on breathing and stretching and staying longer in a pose than constant movement.

This is just my opinion based on my own experience.

February 1, 2012 at 1:59 am
(4) dolly jha says:

yoga is as individualistic as an individual. no one thing is right for all. you need to practise it as per your own physiological as well as psychological level.
Oh! and the very basis of yoga is doing it under the guidance of a guru.
and finding a guru in itself is a major task.
blindly followng a person or dvd can be the worst thing you can do to yourself in the name of yoga.
yoga is not just an exercise for your physical fitness, it’s something that sets you free.
if you have to learn yoga you gotta read Patanjali and his sutras, else be ready for all the pains mentioned about.
visit http://www.dhyanfoundation.org and get to know all the 8 authentic aspects of yoga.
people seem to be spending their entire life doing yogic asanas and yet are unaware of what real yog is.
visit the above mentioned site to know for ourself what yog really is.

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