Becoming a yoga teacher is typically a long process of training, stretching, meditating and learning to express the concepts of the mind-body regimen in a way that is simple and easy to understand. So, it might not surprise you to learn that some yoga books for teachers are better than others.
Recently, CNN noted that a now-infamous New York Times article – one that caught a lot of heat for arguing that "yoga can wreck your body" – is excerpted from a larger volume on the subject.
This book makes the same contention as the article – namely, that yoga classes have "no hierarchy of officials or organization to ensure purity and [the adherence] to agreed-upon sets of facts and poses, rules and procedures, outcomes and benefits."
Is this true? Well, yes and no. What matters isn't so much the standardization of yoga as the care and concern of its leaders.
Joe Palese, a yoga instructor with 14 years of experience, told CNN that "it's the integrity and the awareness that the teacher brings to class that is most important."
The best yoga books emphasize this fact while taking newbies through the gentle basics of the holistic system.
Getting 11 straight wins is no easy task for any professional soccer team, but Celtic Football Club has done just that. In a win streak that began in November, the group has shut down 10 other clubs (one of them twice!), and goalie Fraser Forster gives most of the credit to his exercise regimen, which is based on yoga meditation poses.
"I think the lads who have done it have really felt the benefits from it," he said of yoga, quoted by the Mirror. "Yoga has really caught on in recent years, especially goalkeeping-wise."
He mentioned Brad Friedel as a case in point. At 40 years of age, Friedel – who played more than 80 games as the goaltender for the U.S. National Men's Soccer Team – is well known for his regular use of yoga meditation techniques.
And he's not alone. According to the Yoga Journal, the regimen is quite common among American soccer players. Leslie Osborne, a midfielder for the U.S. National Women's Team, told the source that she was addicted to yoga after a single session.
"I went once, and that was it," she said, quoted by the news source. "Every session, I learned to mentally overcome challenges that I didn't think I could."
What is the best way to choose yoga stretching poses that will be a good fit for you? Recently, experts told the Vancouver Sun that it all hinges on your physical health, your job, your hobbies and your commitment to yoga.
"It depends on what you need in your life," yoga teacher Christina Niven told the newspaper. She explained that yoga regimens are so plentiful in part because people spend their time doing so many different things, which leaves them in need of various forms of holistic healing at the end of the day.
For example, office workers may prefer yoga meditation techniques that get their blood pumping a bit, since the sedentary nature of their job can leave them lacking the cardiovascular stimulation that their body craves.
On the other hand, folks who get plenty of exercise already, or who have physical limitations that prevent rigorous bending or stretching, might benefit from a more soothing program, especially one that focuses on mind-body healing the way that Dahn Yoga does.
Niven noted that it may help to visit your local yoga community center to see if its regimen is a good fit.
Nine times out of 10, yoga enthusiasts will tell you that doing their holistic pain management techniques helps soothe their aching joints, muscles or limbs. However, occasionally you'll hear about how yoga made things worse. These mishaps almost always involve regimens that aren't as low-intensity and self-healing as Dahn Yoga.
For example, an article recently published in the New York Times Magazine examined reports of yoga teachers with chronic hip and back problems, as well as students who'd twisted themselves into such contorted positions that they'd seriously hurt themselves.
One yoga instructor even told the new source that most people should avoid yoga entirely!
The problem with an argument like this one is that it tends to be based on a few anecdotal horror stories, rather than broad surveys or in-depth research. Likewise, saying yoga should be avoided completely is like suggesting that running or swimming should be skipped at all costs – it's a blanket statement that ignores all the slower, more soothing versions of these exercises.
Plenty of scientific investigations have found that yoga stretching for back pain, shoulder aches or nerve problems really does work. All it takes is a low-impact yoga program that is proven to be soothing and effective.