TIME Gives Yoga a Bum Rap

by Robin Forman

You can have my lead-painted toys from China.

You can have my caffeine addiction.

You can even have my cell phone.

But don’t take my yoga!

TIME magazine will foolishly run an article in an upcoming edition (already posted on the web) with the tease: “Overdoing a Good Thing: How Yoga Might Be Bad for Your Health.”


This tease, mind you, is on the cover page where the cover story is about breast cancer spreading around the world.


Breast cancer is bad for you. Yoga is not.

The article says: “Over the past three years, 13,000 Americans were treated in an emergency room or a doctor’s office for yoga-related injuries….Often people get hurt because they assume that yoga is simple and that anybody can pretzel himself or herself on demand.”

Do you know why these people get hurt, TIME? Because they’re idiots.

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know that the first thing the instructor will say is “Are there any injuries anyone would like me to be aware of?” and then the Yogi will warn you “If it hurts, just don’t do it.” Yoga is not football training, nor is it training for the New York City Ballet. Nobody expects you to keep going when something hurts. In fact, they’d prefer you didn’t.

Oh, wait. TIME does tell you that “practicing it is supposed to make you feel better, but doing it wrong is dangerous.” Um...duh?! I hear that sky diving done wrong is dangerous too.

TIME’s article on breast cancer is apt and deserves coverage. But if you’re going to go with an important health issue like cancer, why debase that cover story with an article that is embarrassingly full of over-obvious information, such as make sure your instructor is qualified and yoga’s probably not the best way to improve cardiovascular health.

I don’t know about other yoga practitioners, but I always leave my yoga class taught by my online-certified paraplegic monkey thinking, “Screw Lipitor, that yoga class totally just took care of my cholesterol.”

Don’t worry, TIME. You’re not the only idiot. MSN.com published an article on stupid health studies titled “10 Embarrassingly Obvious Health Studies.” It included gems of wisdom like people who smoke spend money on cigarettes that non-smokers don’t and cocaine and alcohol are not good for your brain. Someone funded and published these studies, some of them were even published in reputable medical journals.

But, TIME, if the journal Neurology jumps off a bridge does that mean you jump too? I hear if it’s done incorrectly it can be dangerous.

(Photo by knife18 of Brooks, Alberta, Canada, obtained via stock.xchng.)

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YogaDawg said...

Good points you make.

Unfortunately though, between the clueless students who are coming to Yoga as the new trendy thing to do and the clueless teachers the studios are pumping out, this is an accident that was bound to happen.

Stephanie Kanowitz said...

Robin, couldn't the yoga article be extended to any type of physical activity? If you run, lift weights, do step class, bicycle improperly, you put yourself at risk for injuries. It's important for people to understand they should do their homework in selecting a yoga instructor and in realizing their bodies' limitations, but I hope the TIME article won't scare anyone off.

Plus, there are different types of yoga, so there is something that fits everyone's abilities.

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