A new book, published next month, lifts the lid on some of the darker sides of the physical and mental stretching techniques - and from back traumas to strokes, the discipline is not without its dangers, writes author William J Broad.
The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, out next month, pulls together medical studies and case studies from those who have met with disastrous ends rather than the feel-good flexibility the practice normally affords.
Mr Black, a yoga teacher of nearly 40 years, made the admission that he believes that 'the vast majority of people' should give up yoga. He recently underwent back surgery to correct decades of damage from the discipline.
The yoga guru told Mr Broad that he has seen people's Achilles tendons tear from overdoing a downward-facing dog, men's ribs breaking with 'pops' from spine-twisting moves and teachers who no longer have any movement in their hips or who are forced to teach lying down because of back problems.
But the most severe cases include a 28-year-old woman who suffered a massive stroke while attempting the 'wheel' position. Her story was documented by Willibald Nagler, of Cornell University Medical College, and published in 1973.
Mr Nagler's report was an early and salu
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