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The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards Hardcover – February 7, 2012
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“Yoga, an ancient practice with millions of modern practitioners, has been the subject of overheated speculation and grandiose claims; it has been dismissed without warrant as well, underappreciated by some who might well benefit from it. The Science of Yoga is a lucid and long overdue account of what scientists have found in their attempts to ferret out the truth about what yoga can and cannot do to heal and make better the body and mind. It is a fascinating and important book.”
—Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Touched With Fire
“The Science of Yoga offers a riveting, much-needed, clear-eyed look at the yoga mystique. In this investigation, science journalist William Broad pulls back the curtain on the little-discussed world of yoga injuries and risks, while setting the record straight about the numerous potential benefits. Downward dog will never look the same.”
—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
“If this book doesn’t motivate you to practice yoga, nothing will. Broad sheds light on yoga’s health benefits and hoaxes, covering everything from headstands to hypertension, the vagus nerve to the YogaButt. Finally I understand why I feel so good when I do yoga. His lively exploration of its evolution from Benares to Beverly Hills flows like any great practice should – with intelligence, good humor and some mindblowing insights.”
—Priscilla Warner, author of Learning to Breathe – My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life and co-author of The Faith Club
“After reading The Science of Yoga, I am even more awed by the magnificent complexities of the human body and mind, and astonished that we can exert so much control over this invisible realm through the practice of yoga. Broad has not only thoroughly researched his topic, he has lived it.”
—Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams
“William Broad is optimistic and hopeful in pointing the way to its future as a major force in preventing and treating disease.”
—Gail Sheehy, author of Passages in Caregiving
“In this compelling work of investigative journalism, William Broad exposes the ”scientific” claims made about yoga—from its much-vaunted healing powers to yogasms—to scientific scrutiny. The Science of Yoga is a wonderful read that any yoga practitioner thirsting for authenticity should study carefully before suiting up.”
—David Gordon White, author of Kiss of the Yogini
"Dramatic...a flair for provocation…valuable.”
About the Author
William J. Broad has practiced yoga since 1970. A bestselling author and senior writer at The New York Times, he has won every major award in print and television during more than thirty years as a science journalist. With New York Times colleagues, he has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as an Emmy and a DuPont. He is the author or coauthor of seven books, including Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War, a #1 New York Times bestseller. He lives in the New York metropolitan area with his wife and three children. He enjoys doing Sun Salutations.
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The word yoga means the union of male and female energies?? Really? I could swear it typically means Union with God... Hmmm, Mr. Broad may not have read the Bagavad Gita. [...] I understand he is basically talking about Hatha Yoga, but the presentation is skewed and misleading, especially to a lay-person target audience.
Yogananda dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of giving a lecture at the Los Angeles Biltmore? Without even citing source material? Come now. Mr. Broad writes for the NY Times?
Yeah, I'm mad and could go on and on --letting off a little steam to see if I can muster up the moxie to finish the book, which has some great info on the scientific study of Hatha yoga's benefits so far.
Mr. Broad, should consider cultivating the same respect for the spirit, essence and richness of Hindu philosophy and history that he has for the scientific data associated with his subject. Actually, his self-congratulatory comments and the liberties he takes with social and historical background of yoga, can't help but to diminish his credibility in reporting on the exploration of the scientific aspects.
I have practiced Hatha yoga for 17 years, studied undergraduate Indian History and Philosophy at UCLA and have continued to study the subject in earnest for the last 20 years.
Bottom line: sort of a hodgepodge of information that frustrates more than educates. Not recommended.