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CNN Wonders Who Should Teach Yoga? Repeats Everything Already Said About Yoga Wrecking Your Body

in Business of Yoga, YD News

Just for good measure, CNN takes on yogagate with their own redundant response to the hubbub over The New York Times “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” (which we all know is part of a book, yes?) complete with frustrated yoga teacher, dramatic voice-overs and menacing words in quotes (see below, and above). But they do (slightly) dig into the whole can of “so who should allowed to teach yoga anyway?” Before you roll your eyes, we do appreciate their move away from focusing solely on body wreckage and injuries. OK, roll on if you like.

For the wary practitioners they go on to offer golden advice: “The best way to avoid injury is to find a studio with qualified, experienced teachers.” Eureka! Now if only there were a respected organization with the capability to make thoughtful, transparant, informed guidelines about qualifications and experience. Hmm.

Or perhaps, better yet, if only yoga teachers themselves would make it point to learn the health risks and benefits of the practice they’re teaching, for the safety of their students, and the sanity of the drama-averse.

Related: Know Your Anatomy? 6 Experts Weigh In On the Yoga Connection and Why You Should



18 comments… add one
  • JeffreyD

    The “get a good teacher to avoid injury” argument is a glob of nonsense.

    1) Why do experienced yoga teachers get hurt?
    2) How are we supposed to know who is a good yoga teacher, when the accreditation board is basically useless?
    3) In a class with more than several students, how is the yoga teacher supposed to track the practice of every one? Or with new students who the teacher doesn’t know?
    4) Is it even possible to get a good yoga teacher in most areas? A lot of the world doesn’t live in Berkeley or NYC or Mysore.
    5) Yogadork itself promotes yoga events like doing yoga at those Wall Street protests or as some sort of promotion for selling coconut water. Is it really practical to avoid doing any yoga until we’re confident the teacher has a mastery of helping students avoid injury?
    6) Teachers generally don’t have formal medical training, so of course they’re not really qualified to take care of physiology. They can try to learn but it’s such an involved subject that they’ll never reach a meaningful level – it’s hard enough for real doctors, who are extremely smart people who dedicate years of their lives at elite institutions. A couple hours of instruction is a drop in the bucket. A lot of anecdotal nonsense gets passed around, such as the idea eating vegan is good for you.

    Basically it’s a logical fallacy along the line of No True Scotsman. If you don’t want to get hurt, go to a good teacher. How do you know if they’re a good teacher? Because they don’t let students get hurt.

    • I think yoga teachers are now responsible for everything that school teachers are….obviously we need to be glued to each student at every moment and are totally responsible for what they do on AND off the mat.

      While the YA does have standards I still think they are too lax at what a RYT 200 can consist of.

    • I feel like it is 50% the responsibility of the teacher to make sure everyone is in proper alignment and doing the poses as safely as possible, and 50% the responsibility of the student to know their own bodies and limitations, to listen to what the teacher is saying, and to ask if they don’t understand. If a teacher is unwilling to work with a student on a specific question or issue before or after class, or ignores students clearly out of alignment, that is when my red flags go up. It can’t be all on the teacher- it is impossible for a teacher to know the entire history of every single students’ bodies.

  • The moment that CNN teamed up with the Tea Party for Michele Bachmann’s ‘response,’ I was over the network. I do actually stay connected to the CNN Health feed, being a health journalist, and I find it most often uninspiring and always late on issues, instead of being in front of them. This take on it does not surprise me in the least.

    • Ad Hominem Much?

      Great post! And I be their breath smelled bad too! How dare CNN allow a decentralized political movement that has had recent electoral impact a voice. You should never have to read or hear opposing viewpoints; it’s all to unsettling to our current, rigid worldview. Better to just have them silenced. That would make us all freer.

  • One of the ways a student can find a ‘good’ teacher is by asking for references. Not from friends, but from the teacher.

    I started teaching 15 years ago. I keep records of every student — their health concerns and issues, special needs, etc. I began to keep records of their outcomes as well (which we’d discussed), and down the track, started to ask students if they were willing to be references. Most have agreed.

    Just last week, a woman came in asking if I had any experience teaching someone with Gillan Barre syndrome. I have. We discussed her unique circumstance, and I asked her if she would like to speak with my student who also had this condition. She did, and I connected them via email. This potential student did contact my former student (I’ve since moved away from her, hence she is “former”), and has booked into classes because she feels assured that I can meet her unique needs.

    The reality is that I have a clear record of pretty much every student whom I have taught, what injuries they have or had (whether they came form yoga or not), and I keep up-to-date with them about their progress even if I am no longer their weekly teacher. I keep their information on hand to use as references for people who might be interested.

    References are a good way to get honest information about a teacher. Even if it is positive press, it can be helpful. And this is particularly true if the reference has the same condition as the potential student does.

  • boy, that was repetitive. I should have deleted a fair bit. sorry, ya’ll. got distracted mid-way through, and didn’t realize. 🙂

    • dayita

      not at all. that is getting filed under “best practices” 🙂

  • what the things you have mentioned above are understandable and really worth full for peoples those has left earlier.

  • Thanks for this post… I think it’s easy for the fickle to just assume, based on one or two news reports/articles that yoga (or anything else) is “bad,” “unhealthy,” etc.

  • It seems like there are two professions in need of oversight here: teaching yoga and journalism. Both can be harmful to their audience if done improperly, or with the wrong motives.

  • Timothy

    “CNN Wonders Who Should Teach Yoga? Repeats Everything Already Said About Yoga Wrecking Your Body”

    Sounds like exactly what you did with the information from JFExposed.com

  • Joe Palese

    I was on the CNN segment and interviewed for the article. I enjoy your criticism of CNN for doing the exact thing your web site does. Exploit yoga for profit. I was referred to your sight because of the John Friend article. I’ve known and studied with John before Anusara was started. John has brought more light into the world than darkness. We all have our shortcomings.
    Your website is amusing. Please write about how inspirational Madonna’s performance was during the Super Bowl and relate it to her Yoga practice.

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