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The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards by [Broad, William J]
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The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

“Yoga, an ancient practice with millions of modern practitioners, has been the subject of overheated speculation and grandiose claims; it has been dismissed without warrant as well, underappreciated by some who might well benefit from it. The Science of Yoga is a lucid and long overdue account of what scientists have found in their attempts to ferret out the truth about what yoga can and cannot do to heal and make better the body and mind. It is a fascinating and important book.”

Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Touched With Fire

The Science of Yoga offers a riveting, much-needed, clear-eyed look at the yoga mystique. In this investigation, science journalist William Broad pulls back the curtain on the little-discussed world of yoga injuries and risks, while setting the record straight about the numerous potential benefits. Downward dog will never look the same.”
Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“If this book doesn’t motivate you to practice yoga, nothing will. Broad sheds light on yoga’s health benefits and hoaxes, covering everything from headstands to hypertension, the vagus nerve to the YogaButt. Finally I understand why I feel so good when I do yoga. His lively exploration of its evolution from Benares to Beverly Hills flows like any great practice should – with intelligence, good humor and some mindblowing insights.
Priscilla Warner, author of Learning to Breathe – My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life and co-author of The Faith Club

“After reading The Science of Yoga, I am even more awed by the magnificent complexities of the human body and mind, and astonished that we can exert so much control over this invisible realm through the practice of yoga. Broad has not only thoroughly researched his topic, he has lived it.”
Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams

“William Broad is optimistic and hopeful in pointing the way to its future as a major force in preventing and treating disease.”

—Gail Sheehy, author of Passages in Caregiving

“In this compelling work of investigative journalism, William Broad exposes the ”scientific” claims made about yoga—from its much-vaunted healing powers to yogasms—to scientific scrutiny. The Science of Yoga is a wonderful read that any yoga practitioner thirsting for authenticity should study carefully before suiting up.”

David Gordon White, author of Kiss of the Yogini

"Dramatic...a flair for provocation…valuable.”
Publishers Weekly

Review

"Dramatic...a flair for provocation...valuable."

--"Publishers Weekly"


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2041 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451641435
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (7 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Z8VLZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is, so far, the best book I have read about yoga.

This is not a book to learn yoga poses. It is a book to learn about what yoga means.

The author has done thorough research to bring you different points of view and to pose questions about the meaning and value of yoga in our society.

A must read.
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By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Award-winning journalist William J. Broad debunks many of the usual claims about yoga including the idea that yoga helps people lose weight. He reports on a study showing that "regular yoga practice cut the basal metabolic rate by an average of 13 percent." He adds, "In other words, individuals who took up the discipline would reduce their basal metabolic rate to such an extent that they required less food and fewer calories--or would add pounds if they ate and exercised in the customary manner." (pp. 96-97)

Broad also cites studies proving that "fast or slow breathing does little to change the levels" of oxygen "that enter the bloodstream." "The body's consumption of oxygen" increases "in response to changes of muscle activity, metabolism, and heart rate--not breathing styles." (p. 85) (By the way, peak oxygenation of the body--VO2 max--as Broad points out on pages 52 and 53, is the result of a big, strong heart and has nothing to do with breathing techniques).

Furthermore what helps yogis to go into trance or meditation through the practice of pranayama is the increased level of carbon dioxide in the system (not more oxygen). Paradoxically, fast breathing (e. g., Bhastrika or "bellows breath") decreases the amount of oxygen in the lungs relative to the amount of CO2! I was surprised to learn this. Broad notes, "the surge in carbon dioxide causes the blood vessels in the brain to contract, reducing the flow of oxygen and producing light headedness..." (p. 86)

Earlier in the book Broad notes that "yogis manipulate their breathing to discharge less "carbon dioxide" by taking fewer breaths. (p. 21) (This is a technique that I sometimes use to facilitate meditation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are starting out on the Yoga path then you MUST read this book. It is written in a concise and efficient way so that the layman understands exactly, the science behind Yoga. I have a good Yoga teacher, but this has opened my eyes about many things of which I had little understanding. I cannot recommend it more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being a yoga teacher I felt that I 'needed' to read this book, after all the hype it created I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about. After reading it I felt that it was a really well written book with years of research gone into it and an author who has a lot of experience in the yoga world. I liked the fact he went in to the dangers of certain poses but also theres so much more infomation in the book than that, it makes an interesting and enjoyable read. I think its a must for all yoga teachers and enthusiasts and I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Science of Yoga starts out feeling like a well researched, fairly balanced treatise on just that, the science of the practice of yoga. So far, so good. However, once you get past the 'science-y' bit...it starts to feel like a personal crusade to warn the world of the dangers of yoga. Just so I'm clear on this -- I certainly believe that yoga can cause serious and life-threatening injuries if not practiced sensibly, intelligently, and carefully. Listen to the body, that's my take on practicing things. Taking this into account, I bought into the specific dangers that Broad is highlighting.

The book then sort of loses a lot of that credibility with me, and devolves into the rather rambling and subjective / conjectured type of writing when the author can't really back up what's he's saying with hard data; this involves the sexual and spiritual chapters later in the book. Neither of which really can be backed up fully by scientific research...as there honestly doesn't seem to be much / any. Here is where Broad really has stitched the books parts together.

Broad threads a consistent statement throughout which is plain and simple: Science just hasn't studied yoga enough, yet. Although that appears to be changing, there's a lot of observational or anecdotal 'evidence' and 'real-life' stories that just don't really stand up to the promise of the title of the book.

Broad has certainly researched the Dickens out of yoga and scientific reports and studies regarding yoga. And he's clearly not trying to pull any wool over the eyes when he admits that this tale or that tale are scientifically unsubstantiated, etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book for any yogi and particularly worth reading if you are a teacher or thinking about doing your teacher training. A little dry in some places though with a lot of scientific explanation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of stodge and waffle, he makes one or two interesting cautionary points. Mostly overblown anecdotalism.
I read it because it received some good reviews.
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