There is still much debate as to how many people are injured as the direct result of practising yoga. All of the studies I have seen are interesting but limited in value. For example, comment is made about the number of people who practice yoga who suffer from strokes. With twenty million plus people practising yoga, it is no surprise that a percentage of them will suffer a stroke: but Yoga is not the cause. Of more interest is the scientific research that demonstrates that yoga can reduce the likelihood of a stroke.
There are thousands (we are told) of people who visit the A&E hospitals with injuries – some of which occurred during yoga. Whilst the numbers can be counted, without deeper analysis the numbers alone are meaningless. For example, no account is made of
- Pre existing injuries
- Injuries made during a yoga lesson – but not as the result of a yoga lesson (Person breaks wrist tripping over mat)
- The accuracy of the cause (they may prefer not to say that they were working their way through the Kamasutra!)
Much of the current background information used in the argument about safety in yoga may come from this article. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117171/#!po=68.2692. If you choose to read the article, I ask you to bear in mind a couple of thoughts.
Firstly, the name of the publisher (Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine) is probably indicative of the angle it is written from. Take heart. It is a well written and researched piece that concludes “Yoga is a safe form of exercise with positive impacts on various aspects of a person’s health; however, those wishing to practice yoga should be cautious and recognize personal limitations, particularly individuals 65 years and older.” Who could disagree?
Secondly, the article, importantly, reiterates the obvious: an individual should not engage in poses that they feel are beyond their physical limitations. Let us all accept responsibility for our own actions rather than blaming others. This is a fundamental requirement of freedom.
Author: Nick Elwell