New York Times
science writer William Broad has angered Yogis with his controversial views: that yoga can lead to strokes and even death.
Broad, author of The Science Of Yoga: The Risks And Rewards has himself practiced yoga for years before an injury in 2007. He has since uncovered documentation of various yoga-related injuries, including strains, broken bones, trapped sciatic nerves and more serious consequences such as stroke and even death.
Broad said that the first documented case of yoga injuries was in 1972 when neurologist Professor Ritchie Russell wrote an article in the British Medical Journal claiming he had found evidence that yoga students turned their necks as far as 90 degrees.
Such excessive extension of the head and neck could potentially harm the arteries running along the neck, causing clots, swelling and constriction, Professor Russell wrote.
Broad told Radio 4: "Postures like the shoulder stand, in which you lie on your back and raise your legs into the air, and the plough, in which you lie on your back and put your feet over your head on the floor behind you, that are widely performed can crank the neck around in a risky way."
"Reductions of blood flow in one of the vertebral arteries, called the basilar artery, are known to cause strokes in some people and can be fatal. If the clots that form go to the brain, you can have a stroke. And one in 20 people who have these vertebral artery problems can die."
Yogis have hit back at Broad's claims saying yoga injury and pain is mostly be caused by poor teaching in the unregulated industry.
Yoga expert Duncan Peak says that just like any sport, the more dynamic is becomes, the more the risk of injury increase.
"I actually think it is great that people are raising the awareness around yoga potentially causing injury if practiced incorrectly,” said Duncan.
"People need to be really careful but there is a ways we can practice that keep it very safe and healthy for us all. "
Osteopath and yoga teacher
Tim Hulbert says "the best way to avoid injury is to not force yourself into any pose that hurts, and use the practice to connect to the body mind and spirit and not to contort or achieve a pose. "
"Yoga combined with modern science of human performance is a magnificent way to get healthy and stay healthy in body, mind and spirit., " he added. "It is the only activity that offers more than a physical practice, with all its ancient wisdom.
Learn more about yoga in our beginner's guide to yoga
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