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Why Yoga Is Not Asana- Or Why William J. Broad Doesn’t Get It

by Matt CaronNovember 22, 2013


Leslie Kaminoff, the ever brutally honest anatomy/breath teacher, gives quite an exposition here as to why yoga is not asana.

Interestingly, most people think the words are interchangeable. 

Furthermore, the very concept that yoga can hurt you- as proclaimed by William J. Broad, the author of “The Science of Yoga“- is completely false, according to Kaminoff. 

What do you think? 

Are the two interchangeable, or are we losing site of the original concepts of yoga?

Matt Caron
Matt Caron
Matt is an enthusiastic Yoga teacher and life voyager. He enjoys reading, writing, practicing and meditating. He is the founder and editor of Matt strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue; not only for others, but for himself.
  • Ajyoga

    Finally someone explains that yoga is so much more than just asana practice!

  • Vicky Rong-Ying Liao

    I agree with Mr. Karminoff. Asana is PART OF yoga practice, and it’s not the essential part. Instead, yogis have to improve their physical condition (e.g. strong muscles, efficient breathing, the ability to focus) as they learn asana.

  • Mark-Francis

    Asana is one of the many petals of yoga. You cannot neglect it any more than breath or the niyama, if you are talking about yoga, which is union and integration of all petals of yoga…or so I and generations of yogis have experienced

    • Justin Kaye

      Asana is but one aspect of the yoga practice. But many of the comments here and even Leslie’s explanation give way to the realization that people are really in the dark when it comes to yoga. Yoga is an experience more than anything. So the “yoga” is not in the “doing” but rather the experience. But this shows how ego centered we are in terms of understanding if yoga. I would go so far as to say one cannot do yoga. One can engaged in disciplines which may or may not lead to a state of yoga. But the idea that modern practitioners are connecting to some ancient lineage when they go to a “yoga class” is simply wrong. The yoga if krishnamacharyra is about 100 years old. A far cry from the claims of many teachers. Now yoga as an internal art form and way of life is ancient. But the yoga that Mr Kaminoff and other modern hatha yoga teachers teach has very little to do with the spiritual practice of the ancients.

  • A Ford

    Well put. Even if doing yoga poses, if your mind isn’t in the right place, it’s not yoga. It’s just calisthenics. Been saying that for years.

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