What book is on your nightstand right now? Whether you are an everyday practicing yogi or a once in a full moon practicing yogi you might want to check out The Science of Yoga The Risks and The Rewardsby science reporter William J. Broad.
William J. Broad is the author that created tsunami size waves in the world of yoga just a few weeks ago when he penned an article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body in The New York Times Magazine. The title alone is inflammatory and the picture, while I assume was meant to be funny, was insulting to many.
But moving beyond the magazine article and examining the book in its entirety, William J. Broad analyzes more than 100 years of research to evaluate the practice of yoga and determine the benefits as well as the risks based on actual physiological evidence instead of assumptions. He presents scientific proof that shows yoga can be used to lift moods and inspire creativity while also showing certain poses, like shoulder stand and plow pose, if practiced incorrectly could seriously hurt or even kill a yogi (this is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence). Along with the benefits and risks to our physical bodies, Broad’s groundbreaking book also asks questions about humans capabilities. Are we able to enter other states of consciousness through practicing yoga? Can yoga help increase our sexual enjoyment and bliss?
In The Science of Yoga we are taken on a tour of yoga from its origins to the current multi-billion dollar industry it is today. Broad uncovers the unexpected benefits, breaks down the myths, and shares his opinion on how some western yoga practices could currently be improved.
Regardless of the type of yoga you practice, I guarantee you will learn something from his analyses. “If this book doesn’t motivate you to practice yoga, nothing will… Finally I understand why I feel so good when I do yoga. [Broad’s] lively exploration of its evolution from Benares to Beverly Hills flows like any great practice should — with intelligence, good humor and some mind blowing insights.”
—Priscilla Warner, Learning to Breathe