I read the article and heard the interview on MPR. I thought he was very careful to not blame anyone per se, at least in the interview, but I also believe that once things go “mainstream” we see increases in risk and injury.
The shoulder stand has always bothered me, and I agree with his analysis of why it can be harmful, however, it’s a standard yoga pose. Like everything else in the industry we need to consider the what’s and the why’s!!
This brings me back to certification and requirements.
I read the article and felt that it was a bit extreme. Any exercise can wreck your body if you aren’t yet prepared for it or have done it to the point of getting overuse injuries (such as cardio on an elliptical or treadmill which have long been advocated by the AHA and other nonprofits, weightlifting, swimming, etc.). I agreed with Glenn Black’s statement that most individuals should be starting with ROM exercises rather than set poses, because I believe this would lessen many of the potential risks. Obviously folks that have a pre-existing condition or injury could have it exascerbated by trying moves that are beyond their ability. Progressive Overload is most effective when a client can begin with exercises that are safe and fairly comfortable.
I personally love taking yoga classes, although it is one of the practices I’m not yet certified in. I was recently encouraged by an article ACE ran on this very subject. If you’re interested it is in the February 2012 issue under “Hazardous Yoga”. Even if you’re not certified through ACE, you can view the newsletter for free on their website: www.ACEfitness.org under Fitness Professional Resources. In it you’ll find some of the more controversial poses, arguements for and against each pose, and alternative poses for people that want the benefits of said pose with fewer risks. Hope that helps!
I think some very key information is also left out of the article. The instructor that was interviewed failed to mention that his back injury came from years of doing EXTREME backbends.
It really should have read yoga instructors with very limited knowledge in anatomy and kinesiology can wreck your body. Unfortunately, some yoga studios look at their YTT as a quick cash cow for their already devoted following. So yeah you get a lot of people who spent upwards of $5K for very little hands-on training with almost no coaching in modifications for postures.
There is also the issue of not everyone knows what different yoga classes entail. Most people think low intensity flows that enhance flexibility. However, Vinyasa schools are HIGH intensity with a lot of powerful movements that can lead to injury for beginners.