An imperfect process with lifelong rewards


Google employees take part in a yoga class at the Google campus.

IF IT took the recent New York Times article about risks and injuries for the women quoted in Beth Teitell’s G section cover story to give themselves permission to stop trying to enjoy yoga (“Yoga-averse rejoice over new book warning of injuries,’’ Jan. 19), then the piece did some service.

Yes, it is true that yoga isn’t for everyone. It is also true that the yoga community will benefit by examining how the demand for teachers has led to too many hastily taught training programs that spit out “teachers’’ whose only prerequisite for enrollment is a willingness to pay the fee and who come out ill prepared to teach.


Overeager teachers (and students) do encourage difficult poses too quickly. And those who can do the more difficult poses are given an often undeserved cachet and assumption of spiritual evolution. The photos the Globe chose to illustrate the article don’t help, as they perpetuate the myth that yoga must look like something out of the circus to be real.

Most important, it is also true that yoga can be transformational. Having practiced yoga seriously for 40 years, I conclude that it is neither inherently dangerous nor guaranteed to be safe and healing. Yoga is a process that requires a willingness to look at one’s own physical and mental patterns with honesty and humility, and to develop the discipline to seek physical and emotional hardiness. It’s a lifelong and imperfect process for which I am thankful daily.

Get Arguable with Jeff Jacoby in your inbox:
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Barbara Benagh

The Yoga Studio


Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com