A roundup of some of the anti-yoga stories this week

Update No. 3 to the study of yoga and back pain relief.

The question: Does yoga have mental benefits? We’ve touched on that here and here.

Now, a few of the stories out there that I’d chalk up as taking a dim view of yoga.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (which is web-only now, right?) gets in on the act:

This study disputes previous claims that the act of stretching combined with yoga’s soothing mental components can alleviate chronic back pain. Researchers studied 228 adults with back pain, and found that yoga and stretching alone were equally effective.

In other words, it’s OK to think about what’s on TV while you’re sweating on your mat. Even though your mind is wandering, your body might be getting healthier.

As does Reuters:

Finding that yoga and stretching had about equal effects means it was probably the stretching in yoga, and not the relaxation or breathing components of the practice, that helped improve functioning and pain symptoms, researchers said.

Time takes time to blog about it:

Chanting “om” might help ease your aching back, but only if it comes at the end of yoga practice. A new study finds that the physical act of doing yoga — but not its meditative aspect — may help reduce symptoms of chronic back pain.

Feeling panicky yet? Well… let’s let Yoga Journal ride (on horseback of course!) to the rescue:

Buzz asked Loren Fishman, MD, of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and  Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, who prescribes yoga to his patients.

“That is an excellent finding because it shows scientifically, and again, what we believed from our own experience all along–that yoga helps patients with non-specific back pain. And stretching does too,” he says. However, what the study didn’t measure–the psychological and behavior benefits of regular yoga–is what yoga practitioners know is unique about the practice. “It often takes more time for these types of positive changes to take hold.”

More time? I can attest to that… because I’m still waiting! (Hopefully we now are done with this study.)

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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