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How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body: Very interesting for health hints [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-1-6 17:25:12 |Display all floors
This post was edited by aa@edward at 2012-1-6 17:46




How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body: Very interesting health hints

Broadway cast of “Godspell” do their flexible best. From left: Uzo Aduba (doing
the wheel), George Salazar (extended-hand-to-big-toe pose) and Nick Blaemire

By WILLIAM J. BROAD Published: January 5, 2012

On a cold Saturday in early 2009, Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four
decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent
gurus, was giving a master class at Sankalpah Yoga in Manhattan. Black is, in
many ways, a classic yogi: he studied in Pune, India, at the institute founded
by the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar, and spent years in solitude and meditation.
He now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and often teaches at the nearby Omega
, a New Age emporium spread over nearly 200 acres of woods
and gardens. He is known for his rigor and his down-to-earth style. But this
was not why I sought him out: Black, I’d been told, was the person to speak
with if you wanted to know not about the virtues of yoga but rather about the
damage it could do. Many of his regular clients came to him for bodywork or
rehabilitation following yoga injuries. This was the situation I found myself
in. In my 30s, I had somehow managed to rupture a disk in my lower back and
found I could prevent bouts of pain with a selection of yoga postures and
abdominal exercises. Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a
posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way. With it went my
belief, naïve in retrospect, that yoga was a source only of healing and never

Salazar: I would say I’m a 7 out of 10 on the flexibility scale.

At Sankalpah Yoga, the room was packed; roughly
half the students were said to be teachers themselves. Black walked around the
room, joking and talking. “Is this yoga?” he asked as we sweated through a pose
that seemed to demand superhuman endurance. “It is if you’re paying attention.”
His approach was almost free-form: he made us hold poses for a long time but
taught no inversions and few classical postures. Throughout the class, he urged
us to pay attention to the thresholds of pain. “I make it as hard as possible,”
he told the group. “It’s up to you to make it easy on yourself.” He drove his
point home with a cautionary tale. In India, he recalled, a yogi came to study
at Iyengar’s school and threw himself into a spinal twist. Black said he
watched in disbelief as three of the man’s ribs gave way — pop, pop, pop.

After class, I asked 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.”

Black seemingly reconciles the dangers of yoga with
his own teaching of it by working hard at knowing when a student “shouldn’t do
something — the shoulder stand, the headstand or putting any weight on the
cervical vertebrae.” Though he studied with Shmuel Tatz, a legendary
Manhattan-based physical therapist who devised a method of massage and
alignment for actors and dancers, he acknowledges that he has no formal
training for determining which poses are good for a student and which may be
problematic. What he does have, he says, is “a ton of experience.”

“To come to New York and do a class with people who
have many problems and say, ‘O.K., we’re going to do this sequence of poses
today’ — it just doesn’t work.”

According to Black, a number of factors have
converged to heighten the risk of practicing yoga. The biggest is the
demographic shift in those who study it. Indian practitioners of yoga typically
squatted and sat cross-legged in daily life, and yoga poses, or asanas, were an
outgrowth of these postures. Now urbanites who sit in chairs all day walk into
a studio a couple of times a week and strain to twist themselves into
ever-more-difficult postures despite their lack of flexibility and other
physical problems. Many come to yoga as a gentle alternative to vigorous sports
or for rehabilitation for injuries. But yoga’s exploding popularity — the
number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what
some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011 — means that there is now an
abundance of studios where many teachers lack the deeper training necessary to
recognize when students are headed toward injury. “Today many schools of yoga are
just about pushing people,” Black said. “You can’t believe what’s going on —
teachers jumping on people, pushing and pulling and saying, ‘You should be able
to do this by now.’ It has to do with their egos.”

When yoga teachers come to him for bodywork after
suffering major traumas, Black tells them, “Don’t do yoga.”

This article is adapted from “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and
, ” by William J. Broad, to be published next month by Simon & Schuster. Broad is a senior science writer at The Times.

Sheila Glaser

This is only page 1 of 4.

Here is the LINK: 01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html?_r=1&hp

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Post time 2012-1-8 13:29:16 |Display all floors
This post was edited by robert237 at 2012-1-7 21:31

You don't have to worry about me trying Yoga.
I'm too smart for that.
I tried to get into the lotus position when I was young and
said to myself, "life is too short for this crap".
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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