Monday, January 16, 2012

A Much Bigger Picture.

Some of my students have asked me what I thought about the article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body by the NY Times earlier this month. I read another article in regards to that from physician and yoga guru Baxter Bell The Bigger Picture on and I couldn't agree more with his statement that “It is entirely possible that at some time during your practice of physical yoga, hatha yoga asana, you will experience an injury. Don’t be shocked or surprised by this. It is true of any physical endeavor. This may be due to your inexperience, attending a class that is beyond your present level of skill, underlying propensity for your body to become injured, inexperience of your teacher or many other factors. Part of your responsibility as a yoga practitioner, is to take the best care of yourself you can, ask questions when concerns arise, investigate the qualifications of your instructors, and so on.”

His article clearly points out that the benefits out way the risks and those injuries that do occur are rare and often caused by something that is not actually part of practicing yoga, EGO. I know from experience that the injuries I've encountered from practicing have occurred because I let ego get in the way of the real purpose of the practice, which is the unity of mind, body and spirit. There our few times I have felt that unity in my life but practicing breath and meditation through the asanas (yoga postures) have allowed me to feel moments of that unity. Those peaceful moments are priceless and are what keep me coming back for more.

I'm grateful the New York Times released this article. It reminds me as a teacher to take great care in my teachings and my own practice. It humbles me and tells me to diminish the ego inside. I hope my students and those who have practiced or are curious about practicing yoga are realistic and understand that no matter what physical challenges you place on your body, especially without care, injuries may occur. That is no reason to not challenge yourself and gain those various and abundant benefits.



  1. Well said! I always love when my yoga instructor reminds me to let go of my ego during class. It's a good reminder, because sometimes we get caught up in pushing ourselves to compete with others or just ourself. Yoga brings so much peace if we let it, and injury doesn't have to happen.

  2. I agree, very well put. Also, as a amateur who does yoga maybe 3 times a month, I can confirm that we don't know what we're doing. You're right, any time you're physically active you run the risk of injury, always. Actually, if you're physically active you will get injured. It's a part if knowing your body, pain thresholds and all of that! Wait, now I want to do more yoga.