Yoga Is Dangerous

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Whenever William Broad of the NY Times writes a sensationalist article, the yoga blogosphere gets all in a tizzy.

I’ve never participated before because, well, I don’t really think it’s all that important.

I am well aware that yoga is dangerous, because being a human being is inherently dangerous.

I know that every morning that I get out of bed there is potential danger lurking, but being afraid of that is debilitating and will not serve me in the slightest.

Inhabiting a human body means that you will inevitably experience pain, trauma, disease, degeneration and death. There’s no escaping it.

Practicing asana is certainly no more dangerous that running, climbing, skiing, or stepping down off a curb to walk across a busy street.

Eating too much is dangerous, as is eating too little. Exercising too much is dangerous, as is exercising too little. We can hurt ourselves sometimes by taking it too far physically, but then there are other times when we hurt ourselves barely doing anything at all – accidents and flukes happen no matter how careful we try to be.

I’ve cut myself making soup before but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop cooking, you know?

When it comes to pain and injury in practice, I view it as the practitioners responsibility to judge for him or herself what is “good pain” (growing, stretching, breaking through barriers) and “bad pain” (overextending muscles, ligaments, improperly aligned stretching, overdoing it, etc.,). You must try your best to be the judge of this, but probably, at least once, you will be wrong, and so you might get hurt. Live and learn.

When I’m feeling a little fragile or injured, I always take a step back on the yoga mat and in other physical activities. I move about it all quite gently with plenty of modifications and permission to rest. I’m careful and conscious and do my best to stay aware of the sensations in my body. That’s really all you can do, if you decide to keep practicing, which I hope you do, no matter what a journalist says!

Danger exists in the practice, but I believe it is far more dangerous to just sit on the couch, disengage and never make an attempt to really know yourself, inside and out.

Be brave, fearless yogis!

Say your prayers and keep at it!

;)

Love and Blessings,

Frances

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11 thoughts on “Yoga Is Dangerous

  1. I always get a little bewildered by people who go on about this but think running 26 miles a day doesn’t also impact you. Everything that every person does in life has costs and benefits. You may be sleek and toned from those 26 mile runs (where do people have the TIME???) but your knees may pop and screech every time they bend or your arches collapsed. People who study and practice very rigorous yoga asanas may experience back or hip pain but may also need work strengthening or stretching the muscles that would better support them. Like you said, cutting your finger doesn’t mean you stop cooking. Articles like that make me laugh a little. It’s like how you can read one month that orange juice is deadly and the next, how it should be drank 9x a day for optimum health.

  2. I totally agree with you about being injured in various aspects of life, but don’t you think that there is a greater propensity to be injured if you do the poses incorrectly? Given how many untrained teachers there are out there, the likelihood of injury seems pretty high.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I’ve gone back to the mat only four weeks after having surgery to repair my torn ACL (not torn because of yoga because of yoga). http://kneedtoknow.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/asana-after-acl-surgery/

    Danger exists in practice, but can be mitigated against with proper alignment and carefully listening to your body.

    • Hi Carry.
      As most of my readers know, I’m an Ashtanga practitioner and so I practice in a self-led Mysore environment with experienced KPJAYI Certified and Authorized teachers. One reason I do this is that I am very wary of most regular yoga teachers out there, because as you said, the number of of untrained teachers out there is very high. I think it’s absolutely essential that one be very discerning about with whom they practice. I definitely wouldn’t just walk into any old Vinyasa/Core Power studio without knowing the teacher, how long they’ve trained and who their teacher is. I certainly agree with you that there are high numbers of injuries because of poorly trained and inexperienced teachers leading new students in poses that they are not ready to be practicing.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Blessings.
      F

  3. Pingback: Top 13 Posts Of 2013 | Lila

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