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Don’t let the NYT scare you away from yoga as a New Year’s resolution.

posted Jan 2, 2013, 3:54 PM by Susan Bernhardt   [ updated Jan 2, 2013, 3:54 PM ]

The NYT has been publishing articles by William Broad about yoga injuries. If you believe what Broad says, you might think that yoga should be banned as a health hazard along with DDT and plutonium. Broad gets many facts wrong and misuses statistics, as a number of bloggers have pointed out. See, e.g., http://yogadork.com/news/is-the-new-york-times-wrecking-yoga-the-community-responds/. One example: Broad says that yoga injuries requiring emergency room visits have increased astronomically in recent years. The numbers: ER visits in the US went from 13 to 46 from 2000 to 2002. Besides that kind of change being statistically insignificant given the amount of yoga being done, he ignores that the number of people doing yoga increased dramatically during the same time. If anything, the number of ER visits per yoga session probably decreased. Broad’s latest piece seems aimed at scaring men away from yoga. He again misuses data to make his point. He again makes statements that are simply false, such as, “the problem is pushy teachers who force [men] into advanced poses while urging them to ignore pain.” I’ve been to thousands of yoga classes. I’ve yet to hear a teacher tell anyone to ignore pain. The NYT published a couple of letters to the editor about this latest piece. The headline: “Men Doing Yoga: Better Skip the Headstands.” http://nyti.ms/10KwuAn. I challenge you to read the letters and find anything implying that men should not do headstands. The author of the first letter says that one of his teachers decided that she should stop doing certain yoga poses after she reached age 50, and now that he is 60 he no longer does headstands and some other yoga poses. Exactly – yoga can and should be modified based on each individual’s capabilities, and age is one factor to consider. The letter said nothing about headstands being dangerous for men. It’s not yoga that’s dangerous - it’s the NYT publishing false information and making it worse by sensationalizing it. So, go ahead with that New Year’s resolution guys – do more yoga in 2013!

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