The NY Times has published an article that is meant to be alarming. While the conversation is worth having and the author is entitled to his opinion, there is a lot of misinformation and omission that I feel I must address.
I will not repeat the useful comments that precede me at the NY Times comment section. The article does not address the many valid “brands” of American yoga that teach modified and assisted yoga postures to people with many physical and medical conditions, such as MS, arthritis, bad backs, hypertension, many founded on evidence-based research. Medical doctors as a rule are notoriously uninformed about yoga properly done.
My certified yoga training with a school registered with the Yoga Alliance emphasized precautions and contraindications for each pose. My yoga instructors included Jeff Migdow, an MD who is also a practicing holistic health practitioner, Priti Robyn Ross, , a yoga therapist who works with patients in medical settings and contributed a chapter to a medical textbook and celebrity teachers such as Gary Kraftsow who used yoga to recover from a brain tumor and has research-based videos with protocols for adapting yoga to treat various medical and emotional conditions, Rodney Yee, who trains yoga teachers at to work with patients at Beth Israel Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering, John Friend who created Anusara Yoga.
However, many gyms do not require Yoga Alliance registered teachers. In fact, many yoga teachers are fitness instructors who received their certification to teach from weekend workshops. I have attended some of these trainings and been to some of the gym classes and what I saw was alarming.
I call the readers attention to the work of Sara Meeks, an RN, PT, yoga teacher and sufferer of osteoporosis: “I have a dream that someday every person, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, lifestyle or any other factor, who has the condition of low bone mass (osteopenia) and/or skeletal fragility (osteoporosis,) will be able to enter a physical therapy practice, gym, fitness center, senior exercise class or any other facility or class where movement is being taught, and that person will be given a program that is #1 SAFE! ”
I am hopeful that the book from which this article is excerpted will be less alarmist, more comprehensive and include constructive criticism.