william j. broad, author of ‘the science of yoga’: video interview exclusive

William J. Broad’s new book, The Science of Yoga, reached a level of infamy in the yoga community long before its release. An excerpt in the New York Times titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” made a big splash in the yoga community and brought the subject of injuries to the forefront of the yoga conversation.

While yoga injuries continue to be the focus of the discussion around the book, there is much more to it. In this exclusive video interview, we talk about how Broad felt about the response and what he learned in the process of researching the book.

A senior writer for the New York Times, William J. Broad is an award-winning science journalist whose previous research includes germs, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle and the global threat of nuclear arms.

  1. Very interesting! Re ancient sexuality being potentially bound up with heightened erotic states – Broad should check out Jeffrey Kripal’s highly controversial “Kali’s Child” – not science, of course, but scholarship, and definitely on point for this question.

    Humorous the way he always makes funny faces into the camera when he’s not wrapped up in talking – I can relate to his discomfort with Skype, LOL.

    Love that a science journalist for the NYTs has learned and communicated that much about yoga – very cool and wonderful for the evolution of the practice.

  2. I really love this interview, Roseanne. It kind of makes me feel that the yoga community could use a little lesson in “detatchment” with how strongly “we” reacted to this article. Yoga and injury is a very real thing! Thank you for sharing this!

  3. It cracked me up how animated he is. Great interview.

  4. He actually seems like a pretty grounded and level-headed dude. All the vitriol which was spewing about with that NYT articles says a lot more about the people who went ballistic than Mr. Broad himself. Way too much projection.

    Sure, I get it, lots of people have invested themselves emotionally, financially, spiritually into yoga but that doesn’t negate the need for objective scrutiny and a reality check once in a while. As Mr. Broad has demonstrated, if that were to take place, we could actually stumble on some mighty interesting discoveries and tid-bits around yoga as well as put down some myths to sleep.

  5. Thanks for posting this! (Ditto on identifying with his Skype-shyness!) If you get a chance for another interview, please ask him about modified headstand (Iyengar style) with the shoulders elevated on a platform. In some forums he differentiates between that and the artery torquing, unmodified version. However, it doesn’t sound like the modification represents enough risk reduction to make it acceptable for his own practice. I’m wondering if issues relating to intra-ocular pressure are dealt with in the book. Also, I hope he seeks out practice-altering workshops, classes or other instruction from someone he thinks is advancing the technical soundness of yoga. THAT would make for additional interesting reporting!

  6. Very interested in a round 2 interview and especially about Mr Broad’s own practice. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Dear Roseanne,
    Firstly, salutations to your awesomeness 🙂

    As for what is happening here, to me, it feels this. An alien lands on earth and happens to end up in an ocean. He reports back to his planet, “It just water, there is nothing alive here. Don’t bother, let’s keep going”. Not innacurate, just very incomplete understanding of this ancient practice. Much love!

    • thanks, bhaskar! read the book, really! you’ll see that it’s more sympathetic and supportive of yoga than we might originally think. really!

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