We can read in a New York Times post published on January 5th, an article called “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” which starts out with a rash of data concerning the various damage and accidents provoked by the practice of Yoga.
The “alarming information” was shared by Glenn Black, a guru who has taught this discipline for 40 years and also a pupil of Iyengar that, in my opinion, is one of the few great characters who has brought to the Western world, the teaching of this millenary discipline in the most comprehensive and efficient way.
Similarily, research by the NY Columbia University, speaking about the same topic, registered a total of 231 cases of back damage, 219 to the shoulders, 174 on the knees and 110 on the neck.
A massacre? A disaster? A shocking evidence that this discipline has nothing to do with positive effects? Or another clamorous rumor from the media and some individuals interested in improving their incomes? Indeed, when something becomes relevant on the market, everyone who makes clamorous statements, nevermind if in positive or negative terms, can surely calculate on attracting big interest in his business… especially if the business attracts a great interest, and in the case of Yoga, as I know, that in the USA alone, yoga practicioners number more than ten million. A very attractive market for those who wish to make a large business.
Admitting that this information is true- and I sincerely don’t think the opposite- the question is how many fake teachers of yoga exist on this earth? Can one of those “neo- gurus” share a teaching in an efficient and safe way? And, I would hope that whoever reads this knows that Yoga is a very effective, but also demanding discipline.
Everyone can attend one year of Yoga seminars, often online, and become a graduated “teacher” in this discipline. I want to mention the “new Yogas” in vogue in the Western spiritual bazaar. Throughout the world, and especially in the USA, there’s a frenetic wish for what is new, different and interesting, and spirituality is not an exception to this behaviour.
In such an environment, it is easy to share a new trend – smartly and shoddiliy presented as an “ancient teaching”, but has nothing to deal with this term. In the same way, many “new Yogas” are presented, but they have nothing to do with the original discipline.
We must understand that Yoga is a “lifestyle”, and that one who performs its practices has to devote himself in a serious way under the guidance of a teacher that, probably, is not as claimed and publicized, but able to teach this discipline in an efficient way and as it must be taught.
Yoga, in the true meaning of the term, is not a gymnastic. It’s a mean able to produce and allow the practitioner to perceive human values and the value of his existence on this earth, at best. And, when it happens, this happens in all the fields of human nature: physical, emotional, intellectual and ethical: the world and life itself is seen with new eyes.
A yoga performed in a proper way can truly change the state of being of an individual, allowing him to get back the dignity of being a living entity through becoming aware his place in the “plan of this universe”.
Such Yoga, a Yoga that is not only performed as practice, but lived in our daily life, can’t harm, but can allow us to “remember” what we really are, to appreciate and live the perfection of the field of Nature we represent.
There are no new Yogas, and no new “gymnastic” or “system” that can be called by this name only because it interprets glimpses of physical or psychical exercises of an integral system that exists on this planet, as a gift for humanity, since millenia.
It is a gift that is capable of allowing us to find again the natural condition that today, is almost totally lost.