Yoga Injury Risks: Is Female Flexibility A Liability? 

In his controversial book, The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards William J Broad, a science journalist and senior writer at The New York Times examined:

"...centuries of history and research to scrutinize the claims made about yoga for health, fitness, emotional wellbeing, sex, weight loss..."

(Quoting the book description on Amazon; pub. date: Feb. 7, 2012)

And in Chapter 4 explored the subject of Yoga Injuries, specifically.

About a year later, Brood wrote an article in the NY Times: Women’s Flexibility Is a Liability (in Yoga)

He related how a Yoga Teacher / Author in Hawaii, Michaelle Edwards, (YogAlign) contacted him about a little-known hip injury risk to women.

Up to this point, Yoga-related injuries in men (due to men’s inherently less-flexible bodies and the tendency to try and forcefully push through that inflexibility too aggressively?) were apparently more visible – resulting in more serious injuries like fractures and dislocations and subsequent trips to the E.R.

This led Brood to reach out to Orthopedic Surgeons and he discovered:

“To my astonishment, some of the nation’s top surgeons declared the trouble to be real — so real that hundreds of women who did yoga were showing up in their offices with unbearable pain and undergoing costly operations to mend or even replace their hips.”

This study, by a Swiss Orthopedist, was quoted:

The Etiology of Osteoarthritis of the Hip: Reinhold Ganz, MD, et al.

“The pincer-type FAI produces a rather slow process of degeneration and occurs more often in women between 30 and 40 years of age engaging in activities with high demands on motion like yoga and aerobics.”

Ladies, this is a slow breakdown of the cartilage of the hip joint that most often becomes very painful and results in the need for surgery (cartilage does not heal) at age 30-40…

Which means that it likely starts much earlier, perhaps as early as your 20’s (cartilage does not wear out in a few years from a low-impact activity) and silently progresses for years without significant symptoms!

My curiosity is about how much slow, degenerative damage may be occurring in women’s elbow joints, (due to the female tendency to have more lax ligaments – not just in the hip, leading to the above-mentioned risk – but also in the knee, shoulder, elbow, etc.)…

Coupled with the propensity to put the elbow into hyperextension in various poses, like Downward Dog.

More on that here, in my latest post:

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