The Science of Yoga by William J. Broad
Release date: 2012 / 336 pages
Synopsis(from Amazon): William Broad, a lifelong practitioner, shows us that uncommon states are integral to a hidden world of risk and reward that lies beneath clouds of myth, superstition, and hype.Five years in the making, The Science of Yoga draws on more than a century of painstaking research to present the first impartial evaluation of a practice thousands of years old. It celebrates what’s real and shows what’s illusory, describes what’s uplifting and beneficial and what’s flaky and dangerous—and why.
Review: The Science of Yoga exemplifies why William J. Broad has won every major award, including two Pulitzer prizes, throughout his thirty years as a science journalist. He examines the discipline of yoga from every imaginable angle — history, health, science, spirituality, sexuality, medicine, business, trend — and offers “an impartial evaluation of an important social phenomenon that began five thousand years ago…” (8-9). The Science of Yoga is loosely chronological, beginning with a brief description of yoga’s most influential figures, a list of styles of yoga, and a timeline beginning in 2500 BCE that continues to the present.
Broad has practiced yoga since 1970 and believes it “could become a force in addressing the global crisis in health care” because “yoga… can turn our bodies into customized pharmaceutical plants that churn out tailored hormones and nerve impulses that heal, cure, raise moods, lower cholesterol, induce sleep, and do a million other things” (216). Science is currently investigating yoga’s ability to treat depression, arthritis, insomnia, diabetes, fatigue, depressed libido and chronic pain.
However, in the meantime yoga must recognize the inherent dangers in remaining an unregulated industry. Broad hopes to establish a Yoga Education Society that would facilitate the above and this book is a step toward that goal. His writing is accessible and engaging and he does not shy away from the more controversial aspects of yoga, as well as the tremendous health benefits. The Science of Yoga is a fascinating study of yoga’s past popularity and future potential.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for allowing me to review this work!
Interested in winning a free copy? Just leave me a comment below!