In just the past couple of days, Eddie Stern has tossed a lot up on his AYNY blog (and re-designed it again). We’ll to everything, if you’ve missed it, but we’ll begin with his (self-admittedly delayed) response to a William Broad article in the New York Times last fall:
As Broad’s by-line lists him as a ‘science reporter for the NYT’, there are, at the least, three characteristics to his writing that undermine his mission by negating scientific rigor, and also seem to be a catalyst of annoyance for many readers.
1. His research methods: “…in late summer, I got around to making some calls.”
2. The types of supporting evidence he cites: “I found that hundreds of orthopedic surgeons in the Mediterranean region heard a conference presentation in 2010 that linked FAI to middle-aged women who do yoga.”
3. His needlessly sensationalist tone: “To my astonishment, some of the nation’s top surgeons declared the trouble to be real—so real that hundreds of women who did yoga were showing up in their offices with unbearable pain and undergoing costly operations to mend or even replace their hips.”
The takeaway? Mr. Broad made some phone calls; surgeons (as they are prone to do) heard a paper read; and other surgeons, whose bread and butter depends on performing said surgeries, performed surgeries. This does not add up to a very deep investigation of the syndrome, or its true relation to yoga. The one yoga teacher referenced in his article, Michelle Edwards, is authenticated because she posted an article on the yoga website Elephant Journal—hardly a peer-reviewed portal of scientific rigor.
Now, there’s much more worth reading about the supposed injury that is at the center of Broad’s article. The above is just a wonderful takedown of Broad, who — in my opinion (fairly learned in this case) — seems to share an illness peculiar to New York Times reporters: a tendency to make illogical leaps when they go from writing articles to longer forms (mostly books). (For the latest example, Google “Jo Becker.”) I think there’s a certain, well, certainty in the NYT’s reporters that perhaps serves them well within the confines of a newspaper article, gives them the authority to package up an issue into its “first line of history” moment, but when tasked with more thoroughly examining an issue, that same certainty blinds them to their own mistakes, biases and blinders.
Eddie also provides some helpful exercises, complete with photos that “make me look as silly as possible.” For example:
Check out the piece for more, written from Eddie’s wise and learned perspective.
Eddie also has up two more posts, one another story from Robbie Norris’ prisoner yoga students:
A YOGA EPIPHANY:
I was heading 2 lunch at Richmond Jail when a clear & simple though hit me: “Da purpose of Life is 2 find something good 2 do wit’ one’s self… and in dat one find da will of God and happineness… since all dat iz good is from God.”
And most recently, he shares the story of a Sonima Foundation teacher:
This afternoon I was leaving the building and walked by the security desk, where three security guards were standing around one of my students. (I actually failed this student last semester—she was hardly ever in class and when she did attend, she was exceptionally disruptive. But I’ve been working extra hard to connect with her this semester, and things have improved.)I said hello to her and she looked at me and said, “I need yoga right now.” I said okay, let’s do it. I asked the security guards if she and I could go sit outside the auditorium, where there is a table and some chairs.
Read on for what this yoga did and how it did it.
Posted by Steve