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Understand the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice
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  2. The Science of Yoga
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  5. The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards

Generally, I felt that even tho the author practices yoga, I didn't feel he really understood it. I think that if he'd had done a yoga teacher training course as part of his research he'd have had a better understanding and also seen that training DOES discuss injuries, modifications, anatomy and science.

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This book was written in , surely we've moved on from talking about Sting and what they said about yoga in an episode of Sex and the City? And also things aren't science just coz you start a sentence saying 'science says that Jan 26, Liz Dean rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction. Basic findings from scientific research presented in this book: 1- Yoga does not improve cardivascular fitness.

So don't do yoga to get in shape, physically, BUT - do it for all the other reasons. The evidence is there. It's a fascinating read.

The Science of Yoga

View all 4 comments. Feb 09, Emily rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , nonfiction. The health benefits of yoga has been praised over the years, but it bothered me that there was a lack of hard science behind a lot of the claims. This is not a salacious debunking of yoga's health benefits, but a very even-handed, well-researched examination of the history of yoga, and an even deeper look into specific studies and tests that have been done to understand the benefits of yoga.

There was a big hoopla on the NYT in January on how this book warns of the dark dangers of yoga. Bro The health benefits of yoga has been praised over the years, but it bothered me that there was a lack of hard science behind a lot of the claims. He also looks at the rewards of yoga, some measurable by science, some not.

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The chapter on how yoga affects sex is especially interesting, for obvious reasons, and if you have ever done yoga for quite some time, makes a lot of sense Excellent read that anyone who has ever practiced yoga or is thinking about practicing yoga should look into. Feb 29, Stephanie rated it it was ok Shelves: kindle-books-i-own , nonfiction. This book started out very strong and then took a long, graceful, smoking, flaming nosedive. Broad started off very skeptical, digging into the science and laying out for me exactly what was true and what was not with regard to Yoga's most famous claims—the abilities to stop the heart and to increase oxygen intake, primarily.

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He even explained the different scientific journals and schools that did studies on Yoga, their types, their sources of funding, and what that meant for the cred 2. He even explained the different scientific journals and schools that did studies on Yoga, their types, their sources of funding, and what that meant for the credibility of each one. I greatly appreciated this. The first two sections of the book, Health and Fit Perfection, were pretty darn good and useful and informative, and after that each section was progressively worse than the last. In Moods the facts were kind of all over the place and not as well presented.

Risk of Injury all but neglected the more common Yoga injuries and instead focused on the relatively minute risk of stroke—and yet pretty much failed to advise the reader on how to avoid this risk. The Healing chapter was pretty terrible in that it focused on two individuals who use Yoga to heal, one successfully and one less so.

Let's hear about the science of it, eh? And if there isn't any, then why is it in this book?

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Some people's ability to "think off" should've been mentioned briefly in the Mood section and left at that. I really didn't need to spend that much time hearing about it. Kundalini is a weird little fringe Yoga cult that i frankly don't care about. And here again Broad didn't actually discuss the science of it.

How do they do it? What's the benefit? Why should i care? Even after that chapter, i was yet again surprised by how awful the Muse chapter was. There was nothing even remotely scientific about this chapter. Broad made a very weak argument that Yoga stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain and therefore probably definitely makes people more creative. And then he talked about a group of people who get together to share their god-awful poetry that Yoga inspired them to write.

And finally, the book explodes in a great plume of flaming wreckage as the author declares in the Epilogue that he doesn't think science can tell us anything meaningful about Yoga. I can only assume that this is the reason that he never once even mentions the whole concept of "prana"; he must think it's some mystical thing that science knows nothing of.

Well if it affects our physical body, then science should be able to study it if it exists—period.


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I had high hopes at the outset of this book that it would take a strictly scientific approach to Yoga, but it wandered way off track. It failed to advise me on how to make my Yoga practice better, failed to entice me to practice Kundalini, and failed to even begin to explain to me what the heck all that chakra bullshit is about.

I'd say it's quite disappointing. Mar 28, Natalie rated it really liked it. It was rage that caused me to purchase this book. Well played, New York Times. Broad states that "a synomym for science is organized skepticism". And so with a fire in my belly, I opened his book. Although I found his tone to be somew It was rage that caused me to purchase this book.

Although I found his tone to be somewhat sanctimonious and sexist, like a 's TV dad "tsk-tsk"-ing his children, a lot of what Broad had to say opened my eyes to how I'm leading my yoga classes. One of the claims he puts to rest immediately is how yoga improves oxygen intake and floods the bloodstream with fresh oxygen. He also disputes yoga's claims to be the sole method to become physically fit.

Broad cites a study done at the University of Wisconsin in which women with no prior yoga experience were studied as they did 55 minutes of Hatha three times a week.

Unfortunately, according to the study, the women showed "gains in strength, endurance, balance and flexibility, but not in VO2 max oxygen consumption. It's inconvenient as a yoga teacher to read these claims. But they also ignited a desire inside me to learn more about exactly what is going on in the body during yoga asanas, pranayama, and the like.

It was also inconvenient and confusing for me to read in one chapter how headstands can kill you and see them suggested to heal a rotator cuff injury in the next chapter.

All in all, I believe this book is a challenging but important read. There are a few postures that I will avoid teaching until I learn more about what happens in the body.

Why We Breathe. A Yoga Documentary.

And there are new ideas I will explore such as Kundalini and how the right brain is affected by yoga. I would like to see a greater understanding of the science of yoga. I feel that with so many claims out there about one style being better than another, a little science can't hurt. I would like to see yoga as an alternative to pills for dealing with stress, high blood pressure, insomnia and other first world afflictions.

At the end of the day, I think a mindful practice with an attentive, knowledgeable teacher is the best way to ensure you're providing yourself with the safest approach to yoga.

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards

Apr 26, Randal rated it it was amazing. William Broad has done an excellent job with gathering the scientific reports and synthesizing an intelligent review of modern yoga. The book situates modern yoga, the physical and scientific endeavor, as a development to promote Indian nationalism in the mid-nineteenth century. In an early and startling scientific disappointment - even with the recent tinkering of adding William Broad has done an excellent job with gathering the scientific reports and synthesizing an intelligent review of modern yoga.

In an early and startling scientific disappointment - even with the recent tinkering of adding Sun Salutations and developing the faster moving vinyasa styles - yoga fails to meet standards of aerobic challenge - the gold standard for fitness evaluation - set by the American College of Sports Medicine. With that case closed - Yoga builds recognition for significant findings in important areas such as uplifting mood, rejuvenating endocrine function, improving creativity, fortifying longevity, improving balance, reducing fatigue, decreasing anxiety, cutting stress, improving sleep, reducing pain, lowering cholesterol and more generally in raising the quality of life for yogis both socially and on the job.

In an ironic twist the study of yoga as a physical form returns us to wondering about its more subtle and uplifting benefits. Along the way the author blazes an impressive path in reviewing yoga's impact on the subtle science of respiration. As well as injuries that relate mostly to joints and subsequently to vital circulation connected with risk of nerve damage and stroke.

Noting the rising concern the author cites more than a few hero's in the field that are making strides to effectively address the issues. I found his critical review to be most helpful in refining and validating my own approach.