Dr. Timothy McCall reacts to William Broad’s latest articleby Sharon Thiel February 20, 2013
You have probably heard of the book The Science of Yoga, in which author William Broad discussed the potential dangers of practicing yoga. The publication of this book created a large discussion in the yoga community and beyond. With the recent publication of the paperback version of his book, Broad created a new discussion by publishing an article in The New York Times called “The Healing Power of Yoga Controversy” on January 10, 2013. This article continued to discuss potential dangers of yoga, citing federal research on increased rates of yoga injuries.
Dr. Timothy McCall, the Yoga Journal medical editor and author of the book Yoga as Medicine (which I highly recommend), decided to respond to Broad’s article, noting that it had false claims and exaggerations. In his article “Man Bites Downward-Facing Dog” from January 29, 2013, McCall described some problems with Broad’s article. He counteracted Broad’s notion that yoga can cause weight gain by preventing calorie loss from parasympathetic nervous system stress with the idea that yoga curbs stress eating by controlling cortisol and calming stress. McCall also noted numerous studies showing that people who practice yoga tend to weigh less.
McCall also noted that Broad created false claims with the ideas that yoga originates from sex cults and that yoga creates a high risk of injury for men. Overall, McCall felt that Broad has made a lot of unsubstantiated claims that were based on anecdotes as well as ignoring much of the available research on yoga.