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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.

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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.

Barbara Benagh

The Yoga Studio


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