Yoga has, in many ways, become synonymous with a healthy way of life. Indeed, the term “yoga,” a Sanskrit word, means, “to ‘yoke’ or unite the mind, body and spirit.” With the promise of total alignment and harmony of your entire self, who wouldn’t want to try yoga as a means to a better life?
© moshimochi – Fotolia.com
The benefits of yoga are plenty. Tangible results include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, better posture, balance, and range of motion. In addition, yoga also provides less material, but still very real results like getting rid of stress, improving your concentration and focus, and even lowering blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. In short, it’s hard to argue with yoga’s results.
Still, there are some risks to yoga, and their seriousness may surprise you. Whitney Fetterhoff’s recent review of The Science of Yoga reminds us that yoga isn’t all about gentle poses and focused breathing. There is a real danger for injuries like, “dislocations, dead nerves and ruptured lungs,” according to the author of The Science of Yoga, William J. Broad. Other problems Broad cites include possible weight gain from a lowered metabolic rate, risk of stroke, joint instability or even brain damage. These issues sound more like warnings for a contact team sport than calm, peaceful, yoga.
Be that as it may, no one is saying you should hang up your yoga pants or exchange your mat for a pair of running shoes– far from it, in fact. However, it is important to know that there are risks with yoga, and like any workout regime or sport, beginners should start slow, learn through proper instruction, listen to their bodies, and increase the level of difficulty at their own pace.