Cocktail Crossfire: Is Yoga a Crock?

The New York Times Magazine has posted an expose on "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body," detailing rib and back injuries of yoga practices gone awry. We discuss.

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The New York Times Magazine has posted an expose on "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body," detailing rib and back injuries of yoga practices gone awry. We discuss.

Get Over Your Yoga Snobbery

Yes, when done wrong, Yoga can lead to injury, like any legitimate physical activity. Running, gymnastics, tennis, swimming -- with overexertion and improper technique any of these can "wreck your body." That's the risk of exercise. If you can't handle it, ride the stationary bike instead. (Do you really want to be the type of gym goer that rides the bike?)

And that's the other thing: Yoga is legitimate physical activity. An outsider might look at all the bending and assume yoga is stretching for pansy athletes who can't handle real sports. Wrong: It's intense -- hence the injuries from cocky "athletes" over-exerting themselves. When done right, yoga is a sweaty work-out. And, no, we're not just talking the "hot kind." There's a reason legions of image obsessed girls flock to yoga studios for their workouts: yoga leads to the coveted yoga body.

Admittedly, yoga attracts some of the worst people on the planet: The image obsessed girls mentioned above, super-hippies, and  self-righteous spiritual types. But any human that's obsessed with a type of exercise is generally intolerable. Talk to a marathon runner lately? Everything in moderation.

And finally, who can argue with a physical activity that mandates rest time for the last few minutes after a hour of exertion?

--Rebecca Greenfield

Yoga: A Dark Mark on American Society

Yoga is the greatest fraud ever perpetuated against American women for the sake of vanity if you don't count the ones that killed or maimed them. Yes, while some men do yoga, the "exercise" is marketed to women as a way to stay skinny without getting sweaty, just like that weird poop yogurt that Jamie Lee Curtis advertises. There are at least five reasons yoga must be stopped:
Yoga is fake exercise. If you have you to make the room really hot while exercising in order to break a sweat, it's not really exercise! How many times have people who play real sports had to open pickle jars for yoga people?
(Statuettes via Novo Collections.)
Despite being fake exercise, yoga can give you brain damage. The New York Times' William J. Broad reports Thursday that while the yoga people "celebrate its abilities to calm, cure, energize and strengthen," they have "long remained silent about its potential to inflict blinding pain." Not sore muscle pain, things like whiplash, nerve damage, three ribs giving way like "pop, pop, pop." There's a condition called "yoga foot drop" which is when all that nerve damage makes it hard for yoga people to walk.
People who do yoga think they're better than you. Yoga people are the types who think it's so great that a San Francisco yoga studeo donated it's used (yuck) yoga mats to Haiti to help homeless earthquake victims. They think people living in tents without running water need yoga mats.
Yoga has ruined fashion for all of us. The color of yoga is a heinous purply plum. It is the color of suburban brain death, of rude moms in Park Slope, the slightly crazy sister-in-law on Breaking Bad, of "camouflaging your trouble spots." Yoga wear (which is fake athletic wear made of "flattering" cotton-poly knit) usually involves three items: tight black pants, a tank top, and a "wrap" that is simultaneously clingy and drapey and makes all women look pregnant. But now women dress like this all the time. Since insidious yoga fashion has infiltrated regular fashion, half of all sweaters have grown inexplicable clumps of fabric that "hide" beer bellies and hips by drawing big fat plum-colored arrows on them. Just look how this yoga gear from Athleta (the three on the left) has encouraged these crimes from Anthropologie (the one on the right):
There are a million more like it. Claire Zulkey has written movingly about what the cardigan on the far right did to her: "The sweater made me look like a witch who was 11 months pregnant and had the added bonus of being too tight in the sleeves, so it cleverly concealed the natural curves of my body while emphasizing my arm fat." Zulkey only has yoga to blame.
Yoga is a trend. Broad reports, "the number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011." Which means that moms in the suburbs are doing yoga. Moms in the suburbs are doing yoga and then going home to watch Two and a Half Men and liking it. Which means that just like all trends, yoga will die. In 20 years, all you yoga people will look back on yoga the same way you look back on Jamie Lee Curtis doing Jazzercise in control hose (embarrassed). Except you will also have yoga foot drop.

--Elspeth Reeve

(Image via by Sinan Isakovic.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.