The Idea That Yoga is Dangerous /// Our Short No BS Response

Admittedly, we’re very bad at reading source material on all the talky talky talky that makes up yoga culture. We don’t really read these New York Times bestseller books that have to do with injuries or brainwaves or anything like that. I can’t even link to them, ’cause I don’t know what they are! That probably makes us bad yoga bloggers. Then again, we don’t really think of ourselves as yoga bloggers, soooo….

Anyway, It’s All Yoga, Baby posted something on that whole “Is yoga dangerous” debate that people seem to really care about. Again, we don’t really follow that discussion, but have quite a bit of practice under our belts, so will just step right up and say a few things.

Here’s our take:

  1. What is this “yoga” thing they keep talking about?
  2. Whatever it is, if it involves you moving your body, it can, by definition, be dangerous.
  3. It’s even more dangerous when you start giving handjobs to your ego.
  4. At some point you’ll probably hurt yourself. Get over it.
  5. If you’re a boy or a girl, played a sport, and were raised to not be a colossal wiener, you’ll know enough to not “blame” yoga (the same way you don’t blame baseball [unless you wanna be the BIGGEST wanker in school]), but just shrug it off and be like, “Eh, really fucked up my shoulder on that one. Gotta pay better attention.”
  6. If you were raised anything other than that, you’re probably gonna wanna sue your yoga instructor because you tried something and hurt your boom boom.
  7. Yoga instructors can’t “make” you do anything. Be an adult.
  8. Getting hurt isn’t a bad thing.
  9. Classically, yoga really doesn’t have anything to do with “never being injured,” but has everything to do with unblocking energetic pathways and being able to live for a thousand years. Good luck with that.
  10. Stop whining. You’re young.

I’m not trying to be overly dismissive, but I honestly can’t believe people care about this stuff. Like, what is it? I’ve been very fortunate, and have (knock on wood) never broken a bone or torn much of anything in yoga (that I’m aware of). I’ve definitely come close, left with a nice sore back, and every single time I’m like, “Hey, stop trying to be a hero. That leg will get behind the head when it’s good goddamn and ready.”

I’ve also had one or two assists that were rather “intentional.” Even with those, I know I lead on that I was way more able than I was (had taken a few weeks of strict practice off), and together we elicited a nice lil upper back strain that lasted about a week.

I definitely have a pair of fucked up creaky shoulders, but that comes from throwing them out when I was a kid, surfing, playing baseball, and, believe it or not, trying to become a b-boy. I don’t think I ever questioned the validity of any of these endeavors. I’ve certainly thought that it takes guts and some willingness to get banged up to get involved in any of those things, but I’ve never once thought that they should be regulated or policed. Never even crossed my mind. It’s my belief that yoga gets such attention because A.) it’s a cash cow (of some degree), and B.) some idiots decided to sell the lie that yoga is about being healthy. Yoga is not about being healthy. It’s a relationship through which you grow as a person. Best prepare for the worst. The gods will present you with all sorts of “lessons.”

I mean, really. Scrape your elbow, don’t be a hero, and live a life already.

And, while you’re debating whether or not that’s appropriate behavior for adults to engage in and under what circumstances you should inform your lawyer if an injury were to be incurred, here are some images of animals play fighting.











Animals: 1

Humans: 0



Human animals: 0.5


  1. Looking_up

    HAHAHA! What are those chipmunky things? The scary one reminds me of my yoga teacher.

  2. greatnorthsky

    OMG!!!!! I Never Laughed Sooooooooooo Hard, Un-Freaking-Believable, Right!!!!!!!! Ummmmm, That Tiger Has Big Paws, HaHa, LOL, Thank You

  3. the moment already came

    Welcome back! “Bear slapping a bear” is now my screen saver.

    Also, c’mon. You a yoga blogger, son. I might prefer to be called a Godiva Chocolate Delivery Specialist, but even so, I’m still packing fudge. Ain’t no shame.

    You have wonderful fudge, Baba, exquisitely packed. Let’s not be bashful.

  4. Garuda

    I dont blame baseball because my neck got a whiplash. I blame the guy who knocked what I called a curve ball into the horizon. ” Anything that travels that far ought to have a stewardess on it” ~ Crash Davis.
    The only thing that yoga destroyed was everything that needed destroying,,,like my curve ball.
    So when y’all make your pitch, be careful that you dont hang a weak one out there cause the celestial all star team is on deck, bats in hand. God oh God I just love opening day…Go Padres.

  5. The P

    The thing is, if you get tennis elbow from playing tennis no one asks you if you were all caught up in your ego or whether you chose an inexperienced 200-hr tennis teacher from a tennis teacher puppy mill or if you were being competitive (kinda the point in tennis) or not paying attention to the minute alignment of your inner pinky finger and anterior deltoid. Actually if you get tennis elbow from playing tennis you (and everyone around you) most likely won’t be shocked because chances are extremely high you’ve heard of tennis elbow and it’s not like the whole tennis industry is trying to hide or downplay the fact that epicondylitis exists and can be caused by playing tennis. On the contrary, tennis elbow is a well known repetitive strain injury, it’s been researched, published on in actual medical journals and treated for years. If someone blames playing tennis for getting tennis elbow they aren’t being a stupid weenie they are stating fact and it’s really, really O.K. to make that connection.

    So why in the f*ck can’t postural yoga do the same – just freakin open the door to honest, frank, evidence based discussion on injuries without all the knee-jerk defensiveness? Because then they would have to drop the schtick of how yoga can only do good (safe as mother’s milk) and cure any manner of ills (fallen arches, bunions, halitosis) based on little to no substantiated evidence. Make no doubt about it, yoga is being sold in both overt and subtle ways as perfectly safe and non-harming to the general public. Hell, I’ve had more than one teacher tell me point blank that yoga will NEVER harm you as long as you have a good teacher. Uh, bullshit, that’s denying you live in a world where entropy is in play. That’s why I fall on the side of supporting regulation, because the yoga industry at present is not self regulating like many of the other sports industries that recognize injuries and work proactively with the medical community. So we disagree on that last point, ah well. But I am right there with you on the cuteness of baby animals play fighting!

  6. Welcome back! I think this is the first post where you officially refer to yourself as a male…well, a boy. Though I haven’t researched the archives. And I’m in full agreement with you, as usual. And I’d like to intentionally strain your mulhabandha.

    • Your words make it all worth while, AA. As for the “boy” comment. That was more a catch-all reference to break dance culture. Phallocentrism still got me by the genderless ballz.

  7. K

    I read the William Broad book and was unimpressed by his arguments about yoga being dangerous, largely because they were so poorly supported. By all means, one can injure oneself doing yoga; but to argue that yoga is inherently dangerous as a physical activity would require you to compare injury rates with those of other activities. “Someone had a stroke while doing yoga” is not an argument in and of itself. Someone also probably had a stroke while taking a can of beans out of the pantry.

    • the moment already came

      Your counter argument is fully addressed in William Broad’s forthcoming book, The Science of Beans: Risks and Rewards.

      Due in 2014, The Science of Beans uses the cutting edge empirical techniques of anecdotal evidence and wild speculation to debunk bean-culture’s most treasured myths, revealing that while people who eat more beans do feel better, they do not in fact toot more.

      If you can’t wait for publication, check out Broad’s essay in this week’s New York Times, entitled “Gar-GONZO Beans?!” about how chickpeas have occasionally been eaten by members of a sex cult.

  8. What do you mean by “relationship?” With whom? I say “with whom” because relationship is most fulfilling when it is reciprocal between two conscious entities who understand each other. A carpenter can have a relationship with wood, and learn a lot about himself in the process, but can the wood have a relationship with the carpenter? Can the wood learn about itself or the carpenter? Most likely, no.

    According to Vaisnava bhakti teaching (as I understand it), asana is seen as a practice for conditioning the body so that one can meditate for long periods without distraction or (much) discomfort, and to extend longevity. The goal is to connect with the Paramatma and to realize the true nature of the self. That’s a relationship worth pursuing, in my opinion. But unfortunately in these days, that kind of meditation is not really practical in terms of achieving the desired result, so we pursue other avenues.


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