The Science of Yoga Review
The Science of Yoga, by William J. Broad is an excellent book on the benefits and risks of yoga. There was a lot of research put into this book to help clarify the myths and truths about yoga. Medical doctors, scientists, physical therapists, sex researchers, immunologists and yoga instructors were interviewed to bring in the latest findings on yoga, and how it can benefit you.
The book definitely goes through every aspect of yoga, from how it started to risks of injury. There are remarkable findings and true stories that every yoga enthusiast should be aware about.
The rare incidences of tragic injuries that are mentioned might scare you a little, and might change the way you practice yoga. Specific postures might be more safe than others, especially if you don't have proper instruction by a yoga expert. As with any physical activity or sport, it's important to know the risks and to practice intelligently.
Here are some of the myths about yoga:
- That yoga currently practiced around the globe is completely safe: it turns out that yoga can rupture lungs, dislocate joints, trigger strokes, and even kill - rarely, but enough to sound alarms.
- A sure thing for losing weight.
- That it's the best way to obtain a rush of revitalizing oxygen, experience an endorphin high or to achieve the ultimate physical fitness.
Here are some of the truths and benefits of yoga:
- Cut stress.
- Revitalize sex: specific poses act as potent aphrodisiacs that produce surges of sex hormones and brainwaves indistinguishable from those of frenzied lovers.
- Foster relaxation.
- Improve health: new research suggests that yoga can also counteract many forces of aging, keeping the spine youthful and slowing the body's inner biological clock.
- Spur creativity.
- Care for the cardiovascular system.
- Lift moods: scientists have recently found that yoga releases natural substances in the brain that act as strong antidepressants.
The agonies of brain damage and the ecstasies of love making are extremes of human existence that seldom get associated with yoga. But as this remarkable book shows, the uncommon states embody a hidden world of risk and reward. Broad, a lifelong practitioner of yoga and a lead science writer for The New York Times, unravels more than a century of research to present the first impartial evaluation of a rite thousands of years old. He shows what's uplifting and beneficial, what's flaky and delusional, what's dangerous and even deadly. In the end, he offers a compelling vision of how the ancient practice can be improved.
I greatly enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it to any yoga instructor or student looking to increase their knowledge on every aspect of yoga, including the good and the bad. As with everything in life, awareness is important to help increase our understanding and make proper life decisions.
William J. Broad is an award winning science writer for the New York Times, and lifelong and devoted yoga practitioner.
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