6. Yoga: Position and Counter-Position

Jan-13-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: This week the blogosphere was all twisted into strange shapes over a New York Times article claiming yoga can wreck your body. So Tikkunista asked our two favourite yoga teachers for comments. One sent us a fine link (Thanks, Cline!) to a piece written in response; the other wrote a responding piece herself (Thanks, Jenn!) And we close with a set of beautiful yoga photos.

* How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body  New York Times

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 Institute, 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 harm.

* Can Yoga Wreck You? Jenn Parks 1000 Ways to be Happy

Yoga injuries? Isn’t that, like, an oxymoronasana?

Put those two words together, and it will shock the toe-socks off your yoga students – and make a room-full of glowy pretzel-bent instructors cringe and nod knowingly, then wax poetic about their deep gratitude for the humbling, character-refining wisdom gleaned from countless yoga injuries. “Namaste!”

I don’t mock; I speak from unsugar-coated experience. Talk to my shoulder, my hip, my sacro-illiac and my ankle. They will prattle on ’til you wish you were deaf about the thousands of dollars and bitter-sweet trips to the chiropractor and Active-Release-Therapists, the accupuncture, accupressure, deep-tissue massages, hot Epsom-saltbaths, side-sleeper pillows, Ibuprofen nights and abbreviated mat practices. Is any Downward Dog or Chaturanga worth pain on the mat? No.

* y o g a  (marvellous photos



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