The Science of Yoga


I resisted reading this book when it came out because of the sensational headlines and the $26 price tag. Then I found the book at a thrift store for $1, a friend told me that she read it and liked it, and I decided resistance was futile. The author, a practicing yogi, put a lot of research into this book.

Studies have found that yoga improves balance, reduces fatigue, decreases anxiety, cuts stress, lifts moods, improves sleep, reduces pain, lowers cholesterol, and raises the quality of life for yogis. Yes, I’ve seen and felt all of these things.

And alternatively, anything taken to extremes can cause injury. I’ve felt some of this too, mostly when I was still running long distances, but it’s also why I do not teach Wheel, Headstand or Lotus. Joints are to be respected, not made to “bend as far as possible.” I cannot imagine sitting in Hero Pose for hours or falling asleep in Seated Forward Fold. Showing off is not the point and having the ability to do something doesn’t mean it’s necessary or worthwhile.

I love his idea of YES – a Yoga Education Society to take on the job of bringing all of the yoga studies together in one place and making them available for anyone looking for reliable information. I agree that yoga (and Ayurveda), with their focus on prevention could become a major force in addressing the global health crisis. I’m going to pass this book along (with all of my underlines and comments in pencil) so others can read it too.