How Yoga Can Destroy Your Body

By | March 11, 2018

Yoga can completely destroy your body

Many people, in an attempt to preserve or improve their health, and sometimes for the purpose of “enlightenment”, begin to practice yoga without even knowing what troubles this eastern “doctrine” prepared for them …

How Yoga Can Destroy Your Body

For today, yoga is closely associated with a healthy lifestyle. Usually directly and said by numerous experts in a healthy lifestyle – “start eating properly, engage in yoga, physical education, etc.”

In Moscow fitness clubs, again, yoga classes are almost always present. Not to mention countless sections / circles. This is a very popular way of healing, especially among women. Among my female acquaintances, most of the yoga was engaged or engaged in. Yes, I myself, once a month or two, took a great interest in this, a long time ago, in his youth. Has done without any consequences, negative or positive. But over time, I formed a sharply negative opinion about this “physical culture” (here and in the following we are talking specifically about the “gymnastic” aspect of classical yoga).

Firstly, I found out that yogis do not shine with health and longevity (as it were not the other way around). Secondly, official medicine has not adopted this method of recovery, apparently because there was no consensus on any significant positive effects.

Of course, people came across me (usually women) with stories about miraculous healings. But it was all from the series – “we went to the grandmother, she pokoldovala and everything dissolved.” Yoga in their stories can be successfully replaced by wearing a magnetic bracelet, consuming charged water and the like magical bredyatinu.

And recently I came across an interesting article about the harm of yoga, which finally placed all the points above the “and”. The text is very long, in some places I will freely tell, in some places I will skip, where it is important – I will definitely translate it.

How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

By: William J. Broad

The author of the article is a 30-year-old journalist who injured his intervertebral disc in the lower back, tried to recover with the help of yoga and failed. Then he turned to the New York famous yoga instructor, who is known for specializing in injuries received by yogis and knows everything not only about the merits of these classes, but also can tell a lot about the reverse side. His name is Glenn Black, he studied yoga in India, then for many years he practiced, has an extensive clientele among the stars and even the yoga coaches themselves, conducting master classes for them. Here at this master class, the journalist managed to talk with Black and hear a lot of discouraging information from that.

The first thing that he least expected to hear from a person who dedicated his whole life to yoga is when he said that he came to the conviction that the vast majority of practitioners should stop doing it. Completely. It’s just too dangerous for their health. Black said that not only beginners, but even famous instructors often do themselves serious harm, and instead of yoga they need exercise therapy or even treatment. Yoga is suitable only for people in excellent sportswear, it is not for everyone.

According to Black, various factors can increase the risk for the average person. First of all, this is that the technique was developed by Indian practices for which to sit for example with crossed legs is a daily habit. And yoga asanas have become only the development of the familiar for the Indians poses. Modern office workers, after sitting all day in the armchair, come to the hall a couple of times a week and try to twist into a position for which they have neither the flexibility nor the health.

All this is exacerbated by the explosive growth in the popularity of yoga (in the US, the number of people involved has increased from 4 million in 2001 to 20 million in 2011), which has led to a rise in the number of inexperienced instructors who simply do not understand how they can hurt the students. Very many are pressured physically and morally by the students, so that they take those or other poses, “I can not”. When such grief-instructors come to Black with serious injuries, he just says to them: “Quit yoga!” They look at him like a madman, but Black is sure that this is their only way to heal.

The author asked what the most serious injuries yoga teachers had to face, and Black said he knows several “stars” that hurt the Achilles tendons, overdoing with such a basic asana “pose the dog’s face down.”

He also saw fully “killed” hips. One of the most famous American yoga teachers simply lost mobility in the hip joints, she had to do an operation to implant prostheses. At the same time she continued to teach! And many instructors have so much trouble with their backs that they are forced to teach lying lessons!


Among the adherents of yoga, from the guru to their helpers, the opinion of her miraculous healing power is widespread. They say that yoga soothes, heals, raises energy and strengthens. Indeed, these exercises can lower pressure, develop natural antidepressants or even improve sexual life. But the yoga community has long been silent about what kind of overwhelming pain it can cause.

Jagannath Ganesh Gong, one of those who brought yoga to the present, did not leave a hint of possible injuries in his journal Yoga Mimansa or the book Asanas (1931). Indra Devi has avoided such references in her best-selling book, “To Be Forever Young, Forever Healthy” (1953), like BKS Iyengar in his work “The Light in Yoga,” published in 1965. Confessions of complete yoga security are contained in the tutorials of such authors as Swami Sivananda, Pattabhi Jois and Bikram Chowdhury. “True yoga is as safe as mother’s milk,” proclaimed Sivananda, the great guru who performed 10 world tours and founded several ashrams on several continents.

But a growing body of medical evidence supports Glenn Black’s point of view that for many people the use of commonly practiced poses carries an imminent health risk.

The first observations of “yoga-diseases” appeared several decades ago and published in respected medical journals: among them such as “Neurology”, British Medical Journal, Journal of the American Medical Association. The described problems ranged from slight damage to health to permanent disability. In one case, a college student who practiced yoga for more than a year, after intense vajrasana practice (sitting on his knees), found that his legs were poorly obeyed, he walked with difficulty, climbed the steps and ran.

Doctors revealed a problem with a branch of the sciatic nerve, passing under the knees. Sitting on his knees worsened the blood supply of this nerve, which caused his dysfunction. As soon as the student refused this position, he quickly recovered. Clinicians have already noted a sufficiently large number of such cases, even to introduce a special term: yoga foot drop (yoga foot drop)

Later, more menacing messages followed. In 1972, a prominent neuroscientist from Oxford, Rich Russell published an article in the British Medical Journal, which states that although extremely rare, some yoga postures can cause stroke in relatively healthy young people. Russell found that brain damage can cause not only direct trauma to the skull, but also rapid neck movements, as well as excess bends that occur in some yoga postures.

The fact is that the neck can normally bend 75 degrees back, 40 degrees forward, 45 degrees to the sides and rotate 50 degrees to the right and left. Practitioners of yoga usually far exceed these possibilities. The average student can turn his head as much as 90 degrees, which is twice the permissible values. And such superflexibility of the neck is encouraged by teachers! Iyengar emphasizes that in the cobra posture the head should lean back as far as possible, and in the rack on the shoulders the head, pressed to the chest, should form a right angle with the trunk. And he calls this pose (allegedly stimulating the thyroid gland) – “one of the most valuable gifts from wise ancestors.”

Russell warns that such extreme positions of the head and neck can injure the vertebral arteries, leading to blood clots or clots, followed by brain damage. After all, these arteries connect to the basilar, feeding the most important parts of the brain, responsible for coordination, breathing, eye movement and other vital functions.

It is known that a decrease in blood flow along the basal artery leads to strokes that are rarely accompanied by speech disorders or lead to loss of consciousness, but damage the basic mechanisms up to death. In most patients with this type of stroke, the main functions are restored, but sometimes headaches, dizziness and coordination problems can last for years. Russell is also concerned that yoga as a cause of a stroke can be hidden from doctors, since brain damage can occur with a long delay (up to several hours), for example, only at night and the doctor’s attention may be attracted by some other possible reason.

In 1973, a year after the work of Russell, Willibald Nagler, a well-known specialist in the rehabilitation of the medical college of Cornwall University, published an article on a strange case. A healthy woman aged 28 years received a stroke when she performed asana “wheel”, doing yoga. When I took this pose, at some point she was balancing on her head thrown back and suddenly felt a severe headache. She could no longer rise independently, just like walking. The woman was taken to the hospital – her right side of the body lost sensitivity, the left arm and leg also did not listen well. His eyes were mowed to the left. The doctors found that her left vertebral artery was significantly narrowed between the first two vertebrae, and the arteries feeding the brain were significantly displaced. The diagnostic operation showed that she had necrosis of the cortical areas in the left hemisphere and secondary hemorrhages. After 2 years of treatment, a woman could begin to walk with difficulty, but her left hand and eyes still did not obey. Nagler concluded that at least such cases are rare, but should serve as a warning about the dangers of excessive loads on the neck, especially for middle-aged people.

And this case with the patient Naglera is not unique. A few years later, a 25-year-old young man was taken to a Chicago hospital complaining of difficulty swallowing, impaired vision and poorly controlled left half of the body.

The patient had excellent health and one and a half year’s experience of practicing yoga every day. Usually, first he twisted the whole body to the right and left to the point of rejection, including the head, then made a stand on his shoulders, taking the position clearly according to Iyengar’s instructions and holding it for 5 minutes. From frequent racks on his neck, even corns were formed from contact with the hard floor.

Diagnosis revealed blockade of the left vertebral artery between the second and third vertebra, almost to the complete cessation of blood flow. After two months of intensive therapy, the patient was able to walk with a cane, but precise movements with his left hand were not restored. The team of doctors in charge came to the conclusion that the condition of this young man is an example of a new kind of threat. Healthy people can seriously damage the vertebral arteries by neck movements that exceed the physiologically acceptable threshold. “Yoga,” they stressed, “should be considered as a possible cause of a stroke.” On this occasion an article was published (Steven N. Hanus), where the Nagler case was cited, and Russell’s warnings were mentioned. Thus, doubts about the safety of yoga began to increase in the medical community. The above cases may seem extremely rare, but the surveys of the Commission on Consumer Safety have shown that the number of calls to the Yoga-related emergency centers has grown rapidly in recent years.

In 2001, 13 cases were noted, in 2001 – 20 complaints and in 2002 already 46. It should be understood that this is not exhaustive statistics at all, but only an indicative trend, for the reason that not all victims turn to traumatology and with less serious problems go to family doctors, chiropractors and other doctors. Over time, stories about victims of yoga began to appear in the media. The Times newspaper published information that “thermal” Bikram Yoga exercises increase the risk of stretching and damaging muscles and ligaments. One of the specialists noticed that excessive stretching of ligaments does not allow them to recover, to regain their former shape and so the risk of their tearing, dislocations and dislocations increases.

In 2009, a team of scientists from the Columbia University Medical College published the results of a global survey of teachers of yoga and doctors. The question was asked this: With what serious problems caused by yoga you had to face? The largest number of responses (231) concerned the lower back. Other often damaged sites are the shoulders (219), the knees (174), the neck (110). Then there are strokes. Respondents noted 4 cases when yoga extreme exercises led to brain damage of one degree or another. Numbers do not say so terrifying, but they prove the potential danger of yoga.

In recent years, reformers have appeared in the yoga community, which began to pay attention to the possible harm from it. In 2003, in the Yoga Journal, Carol Krukoff, a yoga instructor and a doctor who works at the medical center of the University of Duke (North California) – shared her own problems.

On the telecast, she demonstrated a difficult pose, wanted to make a more effective stretching of her legs and tearing her hamstring. The next day she went with great difficulty. She had to spend a year full recovery, when she was able to pull out her leg again. The editor of “Yoga”, Kaitlin Kuistgaard described how she tore a bunch in the yoga class. “I understood how yoga can heal,” she wrote, “but she also realized that she can and mutilate – and heard it repeatedly from colleagues”

One of the most notable audible reformers is Roger Cole, Iyengar Yoga teacher with a psychologist’s diploma (Stanford). Cole wrote a lot in the “Yoga Journal” and talks about security issues at the American College of Sports Medicine. In one of the columns he discussed the practice of reducing the neck fold in the “rack on the shoulders” by placing folded towels under the shoulders. This is invented in order to reduce the angle between the head and body from 90 degrees to 110. Cole warns of the dangers of using an unmodified rack in the form of damage to muscles, ligaments and disks.

But the modifications of classical asanas do not always help. Timothy McCall, physician, medical editor of “Yoga Journal” calls upside down heads generally too dangerous for ordinary yoga classes. His fears are based on his own experience – he found that the stand on his head causes a dangerous phenomenon of clenching nerves, “staircase muscle syndrome”, in which there is a tingling in the right arm and numbness. When he stopped doing this pose – all the symptoms disappeared. Later he noticed that reversing can produce other injuries, including degenerative arthritis of the occipital part of the spine, damage to the retina (due to increased pressure in the eyes).

“Unfortunately,” McCall concludes, “the negative effects of a headstand can be extremely unpredictable”

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A year after the author of the article met Glenn Black for the first time at his master class in Manhattan, he received a soap from him, in which the yogi wrote that he had performed an operation on the spine. “Everything went well,” he wrote, “but the recovery is long and painful. Call if you want”

The cause of the illness, Black said, was four decades of kinks in the back and backs in the back. He developed stenosis, a severe spinal injury, in which the central channel in the spine chronically narrows, nerves are squeezed and wild pains arise. Black said that he began to feel something about 20 years ago when he came out of the postures “plow” and “stand on his shoulders,” but two years ago the pains became simply unbearable. The surgeon said that without an operation he will not be able to walk. The operation lasted 5 hours, in which several lumbar vertebrae had to be attached. Black will eventually recover, but will never be able to bend this part of the spine.

Black is one of the most cautious yogis who met the author. At the first meeting, he assured that he never harmed himself or his disciples with yoga. The author asked – but this stenosis may not be associated with yoga, is it just an age? No, he answered, this is exactly yoga. With these thoughts, Black spoke at a conference in Omega Institution, with deepened feelings from the last operation. But his warnings seem to have passed by. “I was more determined than usual, my idea was that” Asana is not a panacea and not a cure. In fact, if you do it too aggressively – you will end up with problems. “Many did not like to hear it.”

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Here is an article

I did not double-check the information presented by the author, and do not take it all at face value, but the totality of what I have said (and known to me earlier) is enough to come to such a summary about yoga:

Quite silly to seriously engage in the method of “recovery”, sucked from a dirty finger by some ignorant Papuans, who have no idea of ​​the physiology / anatomy of the body. It is necessary to become a little bit the same wild Papuan to believe that becoming idiotic, unnatural poses will make you healthier. At best, this time will simply be wasted, and at worst the worst possible consequences, up to disability, are possible. Of course, the usual fitness / physical education also carry certain health risks, but their benefits to the body are at least proven and even obvious, it’s understandable why you are taking a risk. In the case of yoga, everything is very unsteady and controversial, to put it mildly. If you do not call yoga some elements of a neat stretch, which of course is useful.

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