Checking Yoga is danger for Women

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New York Times chief science reporter William Broad has earned a reputation as the nation’s formal Yoga critic over the past two years. In January 2012, he published the article “How Yoga can finish your body”, which was an excerpt from his book at the time, the Science of Yoga: the Risks and Rewards. The article offered the point of view that Yoga can be very peril, even fatal, and triggered letters of complaint from many leading yoga practitioners and teachers, leading to a live panel discussion in the Yoga Journal on Yoga and the risk of health-issue. Since then, Broad has written other articles about the perils of Yoga, including “the perils of Yoga for men” and “Yoga and Sex Scandals: no surprise here.”Her reviews receive mixed reviews from the national Yoga community, but one thing is for sure: they attract a lot of attention.

When Broad’s recent accusation against Yoga, “women’s flexibility is a burden (in Yoga),” came out last weekend, it was no surprise that people responded to it. In her article, Broad says that by practicing Yoga, women have a high incidence of hip health-issue. He received the statistics to inform his theory from doctors who reported seeing a large number of middle-aged women with hip pain and said that they also practiced Yoga.

In some matters, according to the article, Women needed hip prostheses. (Although it’s not entirely clear if they needed the hip replacements because of Yoga or if they were also Yoga practitioners—a logical inconsistency that some of Broad’s critics have cited.) The article assumes that women are more at risk of this type of health-issue because they are naturally more flexible. Broad says Yoga, if done gently, can probably help with conditions such as arthritis.

Almost immediately appeared online Comments for Broads new Article, including Blogs from Yin Yoga-Teacher Paul Grilley, Corewalking-Creator Jonathan FitzGordon and Confluence Countdown by Author Steven Cahn. Also, The Elephant Journal published an opinion piece on why we should all stop commenting on Broad’s articles. The answers mention relevant points that Broad makes, but also often mauled him for his soft science and fear.