That Dangerous Yoga

People are talking about the New York Times article that said that people get hurt doing yoga.  So this is news?  I was going to pick apart the article but Kai kindly did it for me.  Seriously, if you’re upset about negative publicity for yoga consider that it adds a frisson of danger to the practice.  It’s not all so safe and nice.  Skiing you can break your leg, so obvious.  Fail to listen to the internal voices that warn, and you can pull an S-I joint.  Try going to Vermont for a teacher immersion, steadfastly ignoring your body’s signs that it should probably rest, take ibuprofen instead and practice twice a day.  Go ahead, see what happens to your knee. Most people think that yoga is a bunch of nice ladies stretching elegantly on the floor without much sweat or hard work involved.  They have no idea what a heated vinyasa class is about.  Let them get curious.  Not so safe and nice after all, that yoga.  Better than riding a motorcycle or surfing.  Check it out.

Of course what the article doesn’t say is that the real danger is sitting on the couch and doing nothing.  My grandmother sat in her chair so long eventually she couldn’t get out of it.  We could talk about the endless dangers of diabetes and obesity.  Our bodies were made to move.  You could compare yoga to running, swimming, dancing, or any other activity and I’m sure it would do just fine.  I’ve taken up ice skating and in trying to learn a turn I got a little enthusiastic and hit my head on the ice.  They made me sit out for a few minutes.  There is risk in any physical activity, including walking down the street, and practitioners need to own their practice and take responsibility for their bodies.  See, it’s like this.  You go to the doctor, and she prescribes you a medicine.  But you say wait a minute Doctor, will this medicine interfere/ interact with this other medicine?  What will the side effects be?  It’s the same with yoga.  Ask questions, take care of your body.  Find the intelligent edge and ride the wave.  It’s a fun ride. 




2 thoughts on “That Dangerous Yoga

  1. I think this is the best response to that article I’ve read. I can say personally I was in far more pain before I started practicing yoga than I’ve been in since and that has included a lot of injuries (some yoga-related, some from other workouts). Indeed, sitting on the couch is far more dangerous.

  2. Thanks Dawn- the NYT article certainly struck a chord for a lot of people- the blogosphere is rife with commentary. I try not to respond to every article that comes down the pike but for this one I had something to say that I didn’t think was being said in quite the same way elsewhere.

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