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Fan’s Reaction: Is Yoga Safe?
Yoga has been in the news a great deal over past week and a half. Some say that it is a safe practice, and others claim that it can be dangerous. As one who considers themselves a yogaholic, I decided to go over three articles that made the news in regards to the safety of yoga and put them together, offering my reaction as a yoga fan.
It began with a story about a yoga instructor named Glen Black, who recalls using yoga to alleviate the pain in his back due to a ruptured disk. Some time later, Black recalls his back getting worse and says, "Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way."
Black's story mentions another person who had difficulty walking after performing a yoga posture for hours every day. I think we can learn that moderation is the key to everything. On rare occasions, even water can harm the body in amounts that are excessive by causing hyponatremia, and we all know that water is good for us. Yoga is good for us too, but we should still practice it in moderation and follow the correct form. We also have to know our own body and its limits.
Following Black's story was an article about how to practice yoga safely. This article points out that any type of exercise has the potential to cause injuries, including weight training and golf. I have to agree with this, and I do feel that it is unfair for yoga to be singled out. I also feel that it is worth pointing out that Black's back was already damaged from the ruptured disk, so to solely blame a yoga pose is ludicrous-not to mention-we don't know if Black used the correct form while performing the extended-side-angle pose or pushed himself too far.
The most recent news article is titled, "The Great Yoga Divide," and it details how the original article was looked at upon as a joke in India. This excellent article points out that yoga is practiced very differently in the United States than it is in India. In the U.S., we wear tight clothing during yoga, while those in India wear loose clothing. They laugh at the idea of yoga being an aggressive form of exercise or a cardiovascular workout because it is very different from how they practice yoga. This brings home the point that we have turned yoga into our own unique form of exercise for our culture that differs from the original Indian type. This means that Black, who was a yoga instructor, should have known not to blame the practice of yoga itself. Since he was an instructor he should have known the history and risks, as well as the benefits of yoga.
I will not give up practicing yoga because of what happened to one person. Again, any type of physical activity carries both benefits and risks. Each person must educate themselves and decide what is best for them. I personally feel that the benefits of exercise, including yoga, outweigh the potential risks. Exercise keeps me feeling young and healthy, and it allows me to maintain my weight. I find yoga very relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time. I do think it is good to know what happened to Black so that others and I have a full understanding of both the risks and benefits. However, I do not think that yoga should be looked upon as dangerous or unhealthy in any way, shape or form. Anyone who takes that mindset is closed minded and may as well not participate in any form of exercise at all.
Is yoga safe? I believe that yoga is as safe as any form of exercise and safer than most.
More from Rebecca Bardelli:
Rebecca completed courses in Medical Terminology, Administrative Medical Assisting, and Coding and Billing. She is recognized by the National Healthcareer Association as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) and Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). In addition, Rebecca is a former gymnast and is avid about yoga, swimming and other athletic activities.
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