There has been much turmoil in the yoga world as of late. Of course, we all remember the New York Times artilce about “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”. Just as that cacophony died down, there is a new raucous caused by the scandal surrounding John Friend and his Anusara yoga empire.
We were fortunate enough to snag an interview with possibly the most spoken about man in the yoga community these days, William Broad. The author of the book, The Science of Yoga, had some interesting reactions and comments to make about the recent controversy surrounding that article and was kind enough to answer other questions. We may not agree with everything in the book and you might not either, but, as serious yoga teachers, we are thrilled to see material like this entering the mainstream of yoga culture! “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” broke down the secrecy surrounding the idea that yoga is indeed no panacea and if not practiced correctly has the potential to hurt you, just like any other physical activity. It’s great to see some scientific research supporting an activity that has been sacred and beneficial to people for so long!
Although some of the science in Broad’s book may be debatable (as ALL things scientific are and should be), it is definitely worth the read! Why? Because there have been amazing yoga educators working for years to elevate the credibility, integrity, and safety of Hatha Yoga. For instance, the Breathing Project, a non-profit organization in NYC, has been the center of advanced yoga teaching methods, anatomy as it applies to the body in movement and extraordinarily intelligent discussion about all things surrounding yoga in its current culture and practice. This center along with the Broad’s new book are helping to break ground for the evolution of yoga as we would like to see it.
In the book, you will see Mr. Broad refer to various scientific studies that reveal a darker, riskier side to the physical practice, but you’ll also see scientific studies that seemingly present irrefutable truth about the benefits of yoga. You’ll most definitely be exposed to information that is not discussed in your typical teacher training. You might even be surprised to find out that Mr. Broad loves yoga and wishes everyone had an active practice! Shocking we know. *sarcasm* Read More
Another article addressing the recent yoga “controversy” has caught our attention. This time, because it addresses the attitudes that surround the physical practice of yoga as it now exists in the United States. The author, Suketu Mehta, has astutely identified the undercurrent of competition that has profoundly influenced the now “$6 billion” industry that is the North American empire. He is referring to the competitive-mindset even in yoga classes.
Most practitioners are approaching hatha yoga with the same sense of drive that motivates them in other physical fitness classes. That kind of approach is not necessarily appropriate. Hatha was always meant to be a method of introspection and self-learning through a physical exploration that uses the body to confront the ego and –hopefully-learn to dominate it. But it seems that ego is actually directing the way yoga classes in gyms and many studios are being taught, formulated and marketed. Read More
Once again here is another fantastically expressed argument about some of the issues yoga teachers are having with the NY Times article. Of course, no surprise it comes from one of our beloved educators Leslie Kaminoff. Leslie does such a wonderful job of critically addressing the scientific errors that made it into the article that has caused so much controversy.
Again to be clear we still think this article was important to point out that yoga like ANY OTHER physical activity you take on can have its own risks involved. But now with the emergence of video’s like Leslie’s and the blog post by Eddie Stern the real conversation can begin. So let’s start digging in and see what we learn. Thanks to Leslie for his excellent clarifications and support for an important dialogue necessary to the evolution of a better yoga in America.
Now THIS is more like an appropriate response to Broad’s New York Times article. We agree with most of this and think this is the way to accurately structure arguments in order to maintain integrity. Now don’t get confused by our response from yesterday to our liking this article today. This is the kind of intelligent debate that we want to see and think will benefit yoga. But we were opposed to the irrational and emotional arguments that did not address those facts, but only defended the sanctity of yoga or the fear of it being demonized. The other issue here to be aware of is the disturbing amount of inexperienced yoga teachers relying on the superficial info they get in a 200 hour training to teach large classes. We encourage teachers to continue their education, not just for the sake of their students, but for their own well being. Read More
There has been so much controversy within the yoga community ever since Glenn Black was quoted in last week’s New York Times article. Many teachers have been outraged and offended by the article’s seemingly new revelation that a physical yoga practice can hurt you. There is a plethora of reactionary blog posts, Facebook messages and tweets that accuse Glenn Black and NYT of producing at the least a sensationalist piece of journalism and at the worst threatening the place of yoga in mainstream America and in the hearts and minds of many followers. We have completely lost patience for many of these responses as they seem to reveal a lack of critical thinking, threatening the integrity of teachers as it seems they did not read the article thoroughly before responding. It’s time to put an end to all the emotional arguing and time to address what was actually being said. Read More