Upcoming Appearances

The Science and Practice of Therapeutic Yoga
(Conducted over 4 Consecutive Weekends)
Saturday and Sunday, February 16-17, 23-24, March 2-3, 9-10, 2013.
Walnut Creek, CA

The Yoga & Movement Center

Yoga as Medicine
Saturday, May 11 - Wednesday, May 15
Forest Lake, MN

Yoga Hus Yoga Forest

Yoga as Medicine
Monday, June 3 - Friday, June 7
Oakland, CA

Namaste Yoga and Wellness

Yoga as Medicine
Sunday, June 9 - Friday, June 14
Grass Valley, CA

Sivananda Yoga Farm

Yoga as Medicine
Saturday, July 13 - Wednesday, July 17
Denver, CO

One Yoga

Yoga as Medicine
Saturday, August 3 - Wednesday, August 7
Montreal, Canada

naadayoga

Yoga as Medicine
Sunday, August 25 - Friday, August 30
Stockbridge, MA

Kripalu

Yoga as Medicine
(Conducted over 3 Alternating Weekends) Saturdays and Sundays, October 5-6,19-20, November 2-3
Brentwood, CA

Brentwood Yoga Center

Evening Lecture
Friday, November 8
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Yoga Flow Center

Day-long workshop on Yoga as Medicine
Saturday, November 9
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Yoga Flow Center

3 full-day workshop on Yoga as Medicine at Centro Montanha Encantada
Sunday, November 10, evening - Thursday, November 14, morning
Garopaba, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Centro Montanha Encantada

Enchanted Mountain Yoga Therapy Conference
Thursday, November 14 - Sunday, November 17
Garopaba, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Centro Montanha Encantada


Man Bites Downward-Facing Dog . . .
My Response to The New York Times

Hi Everybody,

Up until now, I've been diplomatic in my responses to William Broad's writings in The New York Times and in his book The Science of Yoga, as much as I often disagreed with him. But after reading his most recent piece in the Times in which he asserts that "yoga is remarkably dangerous for men," I decided it was time to take off the gloves. The following article, "Man Bites Downward-Facing Dog," exposes his pattern of making sensationalist claims that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Because it's kind of long, we're only including the first several paragraphs here, but if you're interested you can download the PDF and read the whole thing.

This feels to me like an important article, as many in the yoga world have not known how to respond to his claims. Many readers, considering his position, have been giving Broad the benefit of the doubt when he makes extravagant claims, but I believe we now have enough evidence to say he doesn't deserve it. I hope you will read the article and share it with anyone and everyone you think might benefit from reading it. You have my permission to link to it, post it on your blog, share it on Facebook, or include it in your email newsletters, as well as to print out and distribute it.

In conjunction with the publication of this article, Yoga U, an online educational resource, will rebroadcast free of charge on February 9th, 2013 at 9 AM PST (noon EST) a 4-hour telesummit on yoga injuries recorded last year, featuring me and many of the country's leading yoga teachers. From what I've heard people loved this program so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

Man Bites Downward-Facing Dog

William Broad, a science writer for The New York Times, is no stranger to controversy. Fact is, he cultivates it. He knows that being provocative sends his articles up the newspaper's most-emailed list and gets people talking about him on Facebook and Twitter, and, of course, sells books. Broad's latest screed, called "Wounded Warrior Pose" appeared just two days before the Christmas day release of the paperback version of his book,The Science of Yoga. In the article, he asserts "yoga can be remarkably dangerous — for men." We'll examine that claim in detail later, but first a little context….

For those who've forgotten, Broad is the guy who a year ago published an alarming and controversial book excerpt entitled How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Its numerous mistakes and exaggerations have been catalogued by me and many others. It's all part of an emerging pattern of his making shocking, man-bites-dog claims that don't hold up under scrutiny. No extraordinary evidence backs his extraordinary claims.

One, parroted by Maureen Dowd in her popular Times column prior to his book's release, is that yoga could make you fat — particularly if you're female. Broad based that assertion entirely on an extrapolation from the long-documented fact that practicing yoga can lower the metabolic rate. Why is that? When you are stressed, your sympathetic nervous system steels your body for fight or flight. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure goes up, more blood is delivered to large muscles, all of which burns calories. Calm your mind and relax your body with yoga and your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, and you don't burn all those nervous-energy calories. Broad's weight gain warning was pure speculation without an ounce of data behind it, and neglected much of the story.

Did Broad consider the effects of stress-related eating? Cortisol-induced binges, and what scientists studying rats call "food seeking behavior?" What about the stress hormone's penchant for turning extra calories into belly fat, the most dangerous kind metabolically? And yoga's proven ability to lower cortisol? None of it is discussed in The Science of Yoga. In fact, there's only one brief mention in the entire book of this hormone so intimately tied to obesity (and many other diseases). He also failed to cite any of the scientific studies that have examined the issue of yoga and body weight. While that research is far from definitive, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that yoga can help people drop excess weight, and prevent unhealthy weight gain, as I pointed out in my 2007 book Yoga as Medicine (which he must have read since his book recommends it).

(Click here to read the full article.)

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To read my review of The Science of Yoga from Yoga International, which I recently posted to Amazon.com, with the title: "Partly Very Good, But When He Is Bad He Is Horrid" click here. N.B. Because I started to write a review of the book on Amazon last year and then changed my mind, Amazon dated the one I just posted February 2012, meaning it's buried where no one will see it. If you think others should read it, please give it a thumbs up on Amazon, or share the link above. Thanks!

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As some of you know, I was profiled in the current issue of Yoga International. The article focused in particular on my therapy work and the Yoga as Medicine seminars I teach. A sidebar discusses how I teach students to conduct overall assessments of yoga therapy "patients," in order to plan treatment approaches. Here's a PDF of that article written by YI's editor, the amazing Linda Sparrowe.

* * *

I've written a couple of articles recently on developing a home yoga practice for the Yoga for Healthy Again blog, Home Practice: The Best Way to Improve Your Health and Well-Being and Wondering What to Practice at Home? Consider a Private Lesson. If you're not already reading the blog, there are loads of interesting articles by Nina Zolotow, Brad Gibson and Baxter Bell, as well as a new contributor Ram Rao, a yogi and Ayurvedic specialist and a colleague of Brad’s from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

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It's been great to have had the last few months off from teaching to be able to rest up, deepen my practice and catch up on my reading, but it's time to get back in the saddle. I'm excited to be doing my most in-depth seminar of the year, The Science and Practice of Therapeutic Yoga, in Walnut Creek, CA at the Yoga and Movement Center. Traditionally, I've taught that course over 8 days but now for the first time, it will be held over four consecutive weekends starting Saturday, Feb. 16th. This course has more on the scientific background of yoga and research updates, and more case work than my regular Yoga as Medicine seminars. You don't have to take all four weekends if that's not possible, but it's important to attend the first weekend, as that sets the stage for the whole training.

I’ll also be teaching the five-day, 30-hour Yoga as Medicine workshop at Namaste Yoga in my adopted hometown of Oakland, CA June 3-7th. In addition, look for YAM workshops in Denver, outside of Minneapolis, and in Grass Valley, California, in the coming months.

I hope to see you sometime soon!

Namaste,

Timothy




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