MIT science news tracker accuses NY Times of “trashing” yoga #altmed #yoga

More discontent about reporting on alternative approaches to wellness.

Paul Raeburn — who discloses that he’s been practicing yoga for a dcade — writes:

The magazine excerpt notes, in the setup near the top, that “Among devotees, from gurus to acolytes forever carrying their rolled-up mats, yoga is described as a nearly miraculous agent of renewal and healing.” That makes the criticism easy. It’s much easier to argue that yoga is not nearly miraculous than to discuss the risks and rewards, which would likely have resulted in a more accurate story.

We then hear about a yoga student who had trouble walking after remaining in a particular yoga position “for hours a day.” Well, sitting in an office chair for hours a day has adverse health consequences, too. Is Broad demolishing yoga on the basis of the experiences of a fanatic?…

You make the call. From the Times:

After class, I asked (instructor Glenn)  Black about his approach to teaching yoga — the emphasis on holding only a few simple poses, the absence of common inversions like headstands and shoulder stands. He gave me the kind of answer you’d expect from any yoga teacher: that awareness is more important than rushing through a series of postures just to say you’d done them. But then he said something more radical. Black has come to believe that “the vast majority of people” should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm.       

Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

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