Is yoga bad for you?

By TNT Bureau

Dec 15, 2017: Many yogis are concerned as to whether yoga can ruin their back or (in rare situations) even kill them. But when scientists looked into this, they found that yoga is generally safe.

Holger Cramer, the director of yoga research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, has extensively researched on injuries and other harms from yoga. He says: “Yoga is as safe as any other activity. It’s not more dangerous than any other form of exercise.”

Lorenzo Cohen, chief of the integrative medicine section at MD Anderson Cancer Center, also agrees with this. “If it is done incorrectly,there can be negative consequences ,” he said, “but if you have the right teacher, this will not happen.”

Most often people get into trouble while doing the headstand pose. Also causing adverse events are: the shoulder stand, postures that require putting one or both feet behind the head, the lotus position, and forceful breathing. Pranayama-, hatha-, and Bikram-style yoga practices have the most adverse events associated with them.

Cramer advises that beginners should avoid advanced postures (such as headstands), and people with chronic health conditions (such as glaucoma) should consult their doctors before diving in. Yoga should not be practiced while under the influence of psychoactive drugs.

So the evidence suggests that yoga is as safe as any other exercise. But make sure you have a good teacher and don’t do headstands or other advanced aasanas before you’re ready. Injuries are always a possibility, as they are with any physical activity, but that has to be weighed against the benefits. However, in the case of yoga there’s good evidence that it can alleviate lower back pain, reduce inflammation, and boost overall health.

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