Kaminoff on Broad: yoga did not start as a Tantric sex cult, you idiot

Leslie Kaminoff once again responds to New York Times senior science writer William J. Broad, who has written sensationally that yoga is killing people (see Kaminoff’s response here) in order to sell his book The Science of Yoga, which Kaminoff reviews and actually recommends without totally buying into it here).

The latest bit of drama is Broad’s assertion (again in a New York Times article and in interviews that I wrote about here) that yoga began as a Tantric sex cult, so no wonder the John Friend/Anusara yoga scandal happened!

Kaminoff points out Broad’s inconsistencies and lack of scholarship and shows the evidence of artifacts depicting yoga poses from ancient times, 4 to 5 thousand years ago, greatly predating medieval Tantric cults, not to mention that yoga is one of 6 well-developed philosophical systems of Hinduism.

Leslie Kaminoff reviews “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards”

This book, The Science of Yoga, written by a New York Times science writer, was at the heart of the recent controversy about yoga injuring people as posited in a New York Times article.

Leslie Kaminoff has posted two video responses to the article. (See my previous post to view them.)

This third video is his response to the book, which he recommends that all yogis read — and then gives a mixed review.

Correlation is not causation, as Kaminoff says. If you cite how many people are injured doing yoga, but fail to compare it to injuries from any other physical activity, there’s no perspective — and that’s a journalistic failure. Broad apparently does not come across as a credible science writer because of this in Kaminoff’s eyes, which is disillusioning considering the NY Times’ “gray lady” status among newspapers, but putting forth questionable data supports his agenda — and sells books.

Of course, journalism has been in the fire for years. Maybe Fox News is the equivalent of Bikram.

Watch the video to find out what Broad’s agenda is. You might be surprised that he picks on individuals (especially one whose Ph.D. came from an institution that ironically Broad finds not credible, and a small organization, the International Association of Yoga Therapists).

Yoga helps by magnitudes more people than it injures. Just make sure you get a good teacher who knows anatomy, and keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to be aware of your body and to set your limits to protect yourself.

Yogadork’s guide to yoga community response to NY Times article

From the great Yogadork, here’s the complete and exhaustive guide to the yoga community’s response to the New York Times article about how yoga can wreck your body.

Thanks, Yogadork, for compiling this and for promising to add more as new responses surface.

I’m glad the conversation is happening. The original article seemed to deliberately fan some flames in order to promote a book by New York Times science reporter William J. Broad. A lot of egos are on the line — yoga in America has become an industry, a far cry from one of six schools of Indian philosophy.

The guide includes Part 2 of Leslie Kaminoff’s response to the controversy. He said in his workshop that he was about halfway through reading The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards (available for preorder, publication date is Feb. 7) and thinks it’s worth the read (even if possibly not entirely fair or accurate, still, good enough).

And with that, I’m bowing out of continuing to post about this controversy. After I read the book (and it’s not at the top of my reading list — gotta study for the massage licensing exam first), I’ll post a review.

Yoga (asana) has been part of my life since 1982. I feel fortunate to have discovered and made this practice part of my life. It’s transformed my being in all its koshas, brought me good health and spiritual gifts, and there’s still learning to be done. It’s blessed me.

My advice for preventing injuries is to work with good teachers who understand anatomy far beyond what’s required to become an RYT-200, teachers who teach small enough classes that they can really keep an eye on each student and keep them out of trouble.

Also, pay a lot of attention to what you’re doing. Use and cultivate your awareness.

Now that’s yoga.