NYT yoga backlash: responses from the blogosphere

The yoga community is still experiencing the fall-out from last week’s NYT Magazine article, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” The article has gone far and wide, with varied responses from yoga practitioners and yoga haters. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting responses, both positive and negative (YogaDork has also provided some responses from the community – and gets bonus points for the brilliant blog post title that summarizes my general feelings about the NYT’s yoga coverage: “Is The New York Times Wrecking Yoga?”).

ABC News: 4 Ways to Practice Safe Yoga – Surprisingly, ABC News had one of the better, more proactive responses. This little newspiece on their website gives readers some concrete tips on how to respect their limits and find the right teacher. In their television news segment, they give us a couple of balanced and reassuring soundbytes from Dr. Loren Fishman. Thumbs up, ABC News! Who woulda thunk?

The Daily Mail Online: Strokes, retina damage and trapped nerves, Is yoga doing us more harm than good? – Okay, seriously, we should expect nothing less than melodrama and sensationalism from a British tabloid. But this article has out-hyperbolized the original NYT piece. “Could nearly 20 million Americans be at risk of a debilitating yoga injury?” the article asks. Whoa! This illustrates my concerns about the original article being misinterpreted and misconstrued. This kind of reaction serves nobody.

The Stir: Your Yoga Workout May Be More Dangerous Than You Think – It’s not surprising that a popular parenting website would catch onto this story. But this blogger offers a refreshing perspective and a critique of fitness industry gurus. In the end, she concludes: “I’m not surprised that ignorance of what yoga’s supposed to be about paired with an impulsiveness to take it too far to prove yourself is what lands people in the hospital or with a chronic injury. And that’s just too bad, because yoga done right and with the correct mindset can be a life-changer.” Nicely stated!

image via abcnews.com

Connect to the Sky: My Take On Yoga – This Montreal blogger and yoga teacher reflects on his own experience with a yoga-induced injury and shares what he learned from it. “The tone of the article in the NYT is aggressive in its description of what people have suffered due to their yoga practice…but I take issue with that statement. People don’t suffer because of their practice – they suffer because of their approach to the practice. They suffer, as I did, because they don’t listen to their intuitive voices that tell them exactly what they need to know it terms of what is appropriate for them given their bodies and their bodies’ limits.”

Bernadette Birney: Oh, Fer Crying Out Loud– Yet another yoga teacher gives us an impassioned response, reminding us of the power of asana. “To claim that yoga is so dangerous that all people should give it up is, in my opinion, sensationalist and irresponsible. Yes, yoga can injure.  That’s why you should practice it with a really well trained teacher.  That’s not NY Times newsworthy... Yoga can also heal.  It’s a lot like medicine. Medicine should be prescribed by someone who knows how–a doctor with years of training and practice under her belt.  Medicine can cause harm–even death–when taken incorrectly.”


  1. sorry but this statement “the Yoga Alliance certifies instructors as registered yoga teachers at basic, intermediate and advanced levels” in the ABC News article is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, and blows the credibility of that piece. irresponsible.

    does nothing but perpetuate another misconception of YA.

  2. The print version came out yesterday, accompanied by some pretty silly pictures of actors doing yoga poses badly while dressed like vaudeville clowns. Kinda undercuts the humorless tone of the article (no acknowledgement of the irony of injury due to hours-long vajrasana?). Not that the usual lovely bendy white girl pix would have been better, but I don’t get it. Yoga is Funny? Yoga practitioners are clowns? Actors are bad at yoga? Yoga in a porkpie hat is silly?

  3. Nice balanced response, Roseanne! Good onya.