In this remarkable book about yoga, William Broad, a lifelong practitioner, shows us that uncommon states are integral to a hidden world of risk and reward that lies beneath clouds of myth, superstition, and hype.
Five years in the making, The Science of Yoga draws on more than a century of painstaking research to present the first impartial evaluation of a practice thousands of years old. It celebrates what’s real and shows what’s illusory, describes what’s uplifting and beneficial and what’s flaky and dangerous—and why. Broad illuminates how yoga can lift moods and inspire creativity. He exposes moves that can cripple and kill. As science often does, this groundbreaking book also reveals mysteries. It presents a fascinating body of evidence that raises questions about whether humans have latent capabilities for entering states of suspended animation and unremitting sexual bliss.
The Science of Yoga takes us on a riveting tour of unknown yoga that goes from old archives in Calcutta to the world capitals of medical research, from storied ashrams to spotless laboratories, from sweaty yoga studios with master teachers to the cozy offices of yoga healers. Broad unveils a burgeoning global industry that attracts not only curious scientists but true believers and charismatic hustlers. In the end, he shatters myths, lays out unexpected benefits, and offers a compelling vision of how the ancient practice can be improved.
©2012 William J. Broad (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Chapters 1-3 are really good, shedding light on the history of yoga as well as scientific insight about the benefits.
The second half of the book is not nearly as good, as broad goes out on a limb time and time again - making claims without much scientific basis. The chapters on injury, healing, sexual drive and creativity all lack the substance shown in the first half of the book.
Still a good read to any interested to yogi and yogini.
This book highlights that yoga as all exercises and physicals activities involves some degree of risk and rewards, and points out the need to educate and practice a better, safer yoga, to decrease and prevent its risk, and for other side, optimize and multiply its rewards. As a yogi one of my favorites books.
Hardest thing to say
With new ears.
None really, except when I noted repetitive references to impropriety, especially everyone's favorite, sex.
Saying that BKS Iyengar would have told the practitioner in cobra or updog to throw his head back, Appalling. Impeached.
Also when I realized that the entire publication is intrinsically dishonest.
Intrinsically dishonest -- good phrase.
Hack -- written for money or prestige, not for passion.
(Selectively?) ignorant and poorly researched -- except for the scandals.
The biggest clue to this writer's incompleteness or bias:
THE MOST IMPORTANT guides to yogic instruction are not even mentioned, nevermind discussed. What are they?
This book was required reading for the yoga teacher training course I'm currently inrolled in. I'm glad that it was. it gave a very balanced narrative of the history of yoga and its positives/negatives of how its tought and marketed. it definitely open my eyes on things I need to be aware of as I go into teaching others
I have been doing yoga asana practice yoga study mantra chanting and overall just an American yoga enthusiast for 15 years. This book is fantastic. My hat is truly off to this author. Well done sir, well done!
I learned more about yoga from this book than in my entire 200 hr yoga instructor training. I hoghly recommend for all instructors and peolle interested in knowing facts about yoga and the science behind why it works so well to bring the benefits it bestows on the practitioners.
Would recommend this title to anyone incorporating a yoga practice into his/her life. The author takes a balanced approach in discussing the claims vs the realities of yoga's powers. A good book for anyone concerned about the safety of his/her practice and what yoga does from a physiological standpoint.
Deepened my practice of Yoga and made my teaching more confident knowing the Science behind Yoga as well as known ing the commonly repeated but inaccurate information. The depth and scope of this work truly makes this MUST READ a thorough book on the true and tested science supporting Yoga as a practical approach to health and more.
Say something about yourself!
This book was basically a bunch of information that felt like it had an agenda, and that the agenda wasn't to outline the risks and rewards of yoga.
If you're looking to just learn more about Yoga in very broad and general ways, you might find the book interesting. I wanted to end the book with some sense of how I should best approach my own yoga practice (you know, the risks and rewards mentioned on the book cover). Instead, I was left sort of confused - feeling like I knew more about yoga, but didn't really know what to do with all of that information.
If you're looking for someone to say "do poses A, B and C for this ailment..." this book does not contain that information. In fact, sometimes the information in one chapter contradicts the information in another chapter. The cobra pose can injure you severely, but it can also enhance testosterone and create a state of bliss. OK, so should I do the cobra pose or avoid it? That was not clear, as the information was delivered, but the author never gave any kind of advice or helped lead the listener to any kind of conclusion. I expected this, and thus was disappointed in the book.
I also found the narrator a little bit robotic, which doesn't really work for me for this topic.
Would definitely recommend. I rarely write reviews but this book presents an understandable and interesting summary of research, folklore and history of yoga - beyond the evangelical or heavy approach of others. If you are looking for a clear account of the pros and cons of yoga and an informed view on history and traditions then this is it. Section on injury and teachers credentials really helpful and meant I finally found someone who can safely guide me in the traditions and eight arms of yoga.
As above and easy to follow
Personable - understandable-authoritative.
I loved this book. As someone who has not practised Yoga I thought I would listen to this as a way of making sure what i got myself into. Very useful in pointing out the benefits but also the dangers of Yoga before getting into the practice. I will now think twice and ask some important questions of any instructor before taking a class.
Really enjoyed this book, well researched and clearly written covering a wide range if yoga through the last 50 years will definitely recommend it.
"A technical study and reference work"
Yes. Lots of information about the history of the various styles with detailed background information.
The shocking injuries. Who would have imagined yoga could cause strokes!
His voice is a little bit of a monotone. I found my attention wandering sometimes.
No. Unless there are dramatic new findings it seems unlikely to need updating.
I would recommend this book as giving a very fair background to yoga. Lots of evidence based studies are quoted. Lots of myths are exposed. The dangers are explained and so are the benefits. It feels very honest.
"thorough and grounded"
I enjoyed the overview of the history of yogas evolution and relationship with science. I found it helpful as a keen yoga practitioner. As a Nurse I found the information about risks interesting too.
"Not hugely interesting"
Lots of information and history of yoga, some Intersting revelations. However most of the book seems to refer to how yoga "could" do this and that, and the future of yoga "could" be like this or it "could" be like that. The narrative is very monotonous too.
"Very informative and interesting book!"
I found this book very insightful, I got through it very quickly, listening at every opportunity and disappointed when it ended. I plan to listen to it again to make sure there wasn't anything I missed. Well structured and an excellent performance. If you are interested in yoga, science and history I would highly recommend this book.
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