The New York Times just published a lengthy article on “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” The response of one of my fellow certified Anusara yoga instructors was “duh!” This conversation greets me as I am about to offer a free gentle and therapeutic yoga class at Willow Street Yoga to invite new and continuing students to discover the power of the Anusara alignment principles to heal and transform challenges of embodiment. If I were not highly confident in the power of Anusara yoga to heal when practiced mindfully, I might be worried that the article would keep away potential students. Instead, I welcome the “news” as a way to broaden the invitation to discovery.
As I have blogged about before, at an intensive, John Friend once compared advanced asana to digitalis–depending on dosage and circumstances of the individual digitalis is at once the deadliest plant in the garden and one of the most powerful medications to heal the heart. We don’t read much about digitalis in the news, but we are constantly bombarded with contradictory news flashes about the health risks and benefits of lots of things — coffee, red wine, vitamins, running, anything that has been either held out as either a cure all or an evil that is ubiquitously practiced or imbibed. Why? I think it is because we in this society are hungry for panaceas, for effortless solutions, for the latest thing, for something to save us from emptiness and ill health, without actually having to work at it. It is newsworthy that yoga bears risks precisely because we (the general societal we) wanted it to be a perfect solution without actually requiring any change how we live the rest of our lives (including diet, exercise, relationship to others) and to bring to yoga the mindfulness, determination, and steadiness that it requires to bring the peace, harmony, and healing it offers.