660 of 721 people found the following review helpful
Deeply flawed, but a must-read,
This review is from: The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards (Hardcover)Review of William J. Broad's "The Science of Yoga" by Leslie Kaminoff, author of Yoga Anatomy-2nd Edition
In spite of the fact that I have some highly critical things to say about this book, I am recommending that every yoga student, yoga teacher and teacher of yoga teachers read "The Science of Yoga." The issues that Mr. Broad raises are too important to be ignored, and need to be openly and objectively discussed by anyone who cares about truth, clarity and safety.
When he's at his best, Broad does a great service to our field by throughly investigating the history of yoga research and reporting on the actual science that's available to either support or refute many of the claims that are commonly made about yoga's promises. Several of the myths he exposes are ones that I have been trying to debunk for years. He also does a great job of documenting the evidence of yoga's benefits - for health, creativity and mental balance.
When he's at his worst, he's attempting to make his book more colorful by spinning speculative yarns about the personalities of his cast of characters. Most of them are long dead and cannot dispute Broad's assertions about their motivations, ambitions and ethics. However, some of his subjects are very much alive and I know for a fact that at least one of them takes extreme exception to the manner in which he was portrayed (full disclosure: I am referring to a good friend of mine).
Broad also loses his objectivity when, in chapter 4, he launches into the controversial issue of yoga injuries. I am the last person to deny that asana injuries happen quite regularly, as a significant part of my practice consists of helping practitioners who have sustained them. Nevertheless, the truly scary picture painted in this chapter is not based on any science that would pass Broad's own muster if he was reviewing it in the first 3 chapters of his book. He can cite no serious scientific studies done regarding the actual cause and frequency of severe injuries (stroke, pneumothorax, paralysis, etc.) because there are none. Instead, Broad reports on a handful of case studies dating back to the 70's, and some surveys of emergency room statistics. He then extrapolates from those numbers to conclude there must be a minimum of 300 strokes caused by yoga asanas per year. Any indication of how common these injuries are in the non-yoga practicing population? No. Any context for where asana practice ranks in relation to other "risky" activities (it's safer than golf)? No. Any mention of the fundamental logical rule that correlation is not causation? No. Is this good science? Hell no.
What becomes clear in his epilogue is that Mr. Broad is a man with an agenda. He wants yoga to gain more credibility and acceptance in mainstream health care delivery by medicalizing its educational standards and subjecting itself to governmental regulation (something I've been fighting against for the past 3 decades). This explains why he needed to build the case for yoga's riskiness, and why he felt compelled to unfairly and inaccurately portray the International Association of Yoga Therapists as a non-credible group with shady origins whose main agenda is to provide its members with "phony credentials." He even absurdly proposes the formation of a "Yoga Education Society" whose mission would be to collect information about yoga and disseminate it to the public - the exact same mission the IAYT has been splendidly fulfilling since its founding. Shameful.
Broad's misplaced faith in his own agenda, the medical model and in governmental controls has blinded him to the fact that much of yoga's popularity as a healing modality is precisely because we are an alternative to all that. We are not medical practitioners nor should we aspire to be. We are educators and should fight to remain so.
Nobody asked Mr. Broad to push for the medicalization, accreditation or licensing of yoga. He took it on himself to make a case for it, and its up to us as yoga professionals to show him that he's wrong by continuing to raise the standards of our educational programs, and by keeping our profession free from coercive forces of any kind. That is why I say it's important you read this book and then let your voice be heard.
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Showing 61-70 of 96 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2012 11:08:54 AM PST
it appears to me that those who are teachers are crying foul play the loudest because they make a living by yoga.
i, myself, feel lucky that i only experienced whip lash from my first yoga class.
Broad has done an excellent job researching and writing this book.
Posted on Mar 9, 2012 7:23:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2012 10:15:20 AM PDT
You say that you are in favour of an industry standard, but against a government standard, but if medicalisation of yoga can destroy this commerical industry, I am in favour of it. The first thing you can do as a yoga teacher, is to make the information on your anatomy website available for free. That would give a good example, if you truly care about educating people and not just about defending the future of this lucrative yoga industry.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 7:36:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 7:39:05 PM PST
Leslie Kaminoff says:
Yep. You've got me tagged - I'm extremely money hungry..I'm selfishly attached to being able to feed my family by doing something I love.
I presume you are not money hungry? Let me guess...are you in civil service?
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 7:47:49 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2012 7:05:04 AM PST
David S. Lynn says:
When Mr. Kaminoff refers to an *industry standard,* he does not mean industry as in money generation. The term industry here refers to the profession as a whole and their standards of knowledge, practices and conduct. The quantity of money that might or might not be produced as a result is merely a by-product of higher or lower quality of service to Students & Clients. More importantly, he does not want any of these *standards* to be enforced at the point of a gun, which ALL government standards, by ALL legal definitions, entail and require.
Leslie provides extremely high quality and useful information and education to many people, and doing so costs a LOT of money. I only hope the sales of his products have returned his substantial investment plus some, which would only be fair. Doing it for free would require that people like you -- those who claim a superior attitude -- donate substantial funds to his operations so as to spread Mr. Kaminoff's vast knowledge among as many people as possible. Otherwise, his gifts would be wasted upon the false alter of spiritual poverty.
Have you, sir, offered to finance his operations so he could stop charging money for his widely needed work and service? Or would you require him and his family to live in poverty? Better yet, what evidence do YOU supply toward having a comparably high quality of service to offer people? Mr. Kaminoff needs no further evidence than his already existing and abundant materials and many, extremely happy students and teachers he has already provided to the world. ... I also find his marketing to be quite low-key compared to many in the *industry.*
And I see no rational nor humane reason someone who devotes their entire life to teaching something -- even if so-called *spiritual* -- is required to live a lesser quality of life than anyone else. America is not (thankfully) poverty stricken India, which is such because so many of them do not understand nor respect universal human principles of peaceful wealth creation (or more likely the real agenda of some upper class elites whom prefer the lower classes STAY in the lower classes, which has a lot more to do with why so-called *spirituality* in the East is falsely associated with not charging money).
And, a comprehensive Lexicon of the Sanskrit language specifically states that business and wealth endeavors are indeed legitimate translations of the word *yoga.* But of course, most people in most cultures don't bother to read their own dictionaries or encyclopedias, so they remain quite a bit in the dark regarding their very own language and culture. They just listen to the propaganda spewed forth from their masters, be they political or *spiritual.*
Although I've only met him once, why you find it necessary to apply an extremely negative, judgmental and psychically violent attitude toward Mr. Kaminoff escapes me. Comparing him to a *gigolo* is without any foundation and, frankly offensive in the extreme. Personally knowing Mr. Kaminoff's work compared to your obvious lack of knowledge on most or all such matters makes it far more difficult to take your commentary seriously on anything at all. There is obviously NO Yogic Spirit of Ahimsa (non-violence) in any of your statements.
Or maybe your overtly anti-spiritual attitude is just plain old jealousy and envy?
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2012 11:59:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2012 12:07:45 PM PST
I am not saying that he is not allowed to make money, it is clear though that he has a financial interest in the yoga industry which he is defending here. I didn't compare him to a gigolo, you have completely misread that sentence. Your praise for Lesie's work and his contribution is completely hyperbolic, his book on yoga anatomy is the worst I have seen on the subject. The reason India is poverty stricken is because it has been looted for a thousand years by invading muslims and the British, before that it was one of the wealthiest places on earth. I was not even saying that this is a western problem, you are responding to strawmans with your trash talk about India. Commercialisation of yoga has become a problem in India too. You obviously have no knowledge of Sanskrit, since you cannot differentiate between the meaning of yoga as used in vedic Sanskrit and the practice of hatha yoga or raja yoga, the latter having absolutely nothing to do with business.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2012 12:16:23 PM PST
good post. also let me aware of why india is poverty stricken.
Posted on Mar 12, 2012 4:52:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2012 4:55:10 AM PDT
A quick look at Leslie's profile reveals his interest in Laissez-Faire capitalism and Ayn Rand's objectivism. This explains his agenda to defend this lucrative yoga industry and prevents him to look at the possibility of helping many patients through medicalizing yoga therapy.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 6:23:33 AM PDT
Leslie Kaminoff says:
Sir, over the past 33 years I have spent more than 20,000 hours of my life in private sessions helping people with the therapeutic tools of yoga. I have spent nearly an equal number of hours teaching in group situations. What have you done in your life to "help many patients?" Unless you have done something similar, I'm suggesting you refrain from making any more foolish statements about me.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 7:42:02 AM PDT
I did not say that you are not helping your private clients, but you are treatened by the mere idea that yoga therapy moves away from the alternative circuit towards mainstream medicine.