The Science of Yoga


The Science of Yoga

The Science of Yoga. The Risks and the Rewards.


Five years in the making, The Science of Yoga shatters myths, reveals dangers, and lays out surprising benefits. It exposes moves that can maim and kill. It illuminates how yoga can lift moods and inspire creativity. Like science, it bares mysteries. The book presents a fascinating body of evidence suggesting that humans may have latent capabilities for entering states of suspended animation and unremitting sexual bliss.



Healing through Controversy Adapted from the Afterword to The Science of Yoga paperback
When published, The Science of Yoga stirred more controversy than anything else I’ve written as a science journalist. Before it came out, Bobby Clennell, my talented illustrator and a senior Iyengar teacher with a global following, told me the book would start a conversation. The actuality was more like a riot.

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A Reading List on Yoga Safety
I have compiled a list of books and articles on yoga injuries and how to avoid them. I make no claims for completeness – or the value of particular ideas – but offer the list simply as an introduction to the growing literature.

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“Dramatic…a flair for provocation…unusual and valuable.”

Publishers Weekly

“Yoga, an ancient practice with millions of modern practitioners, has been the subject of overheated speculation and grandiose claims; it has been dismissed without warrant as well, underappreciated by some who might well benefit from it. The Science of Yoga is a lucid and long overdue account of what scientists have found in their attempts to ferret out the truth about what yoga can and cannot do to heal and make better the body and mind. It is a fascinating and important book.”

–Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Touched With Fire

The Science of Yoga offers a riveting, much-needed, clear-eyed look at the yoga mystique. In this investigation, science journalist William Broad pulls back the curtain on the little-discussed world of yoga injuries and risks, while setting the record straight about the numerous potential benefits. Downward dog will never look the same.”

–Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“If this book doesn’t motivate you to practice yoga, nothing will. Broad sheds light on yoga’s health benefits and hoaxes, covering everything from headstands to hypertension, the vagus nerve to the YogaButt. Finally I understand why I feel so good when I do yoga. His lively exploration of its evolution from Benares to Beverly Hills flows like any great practice should – with intelligence, good humor and some mindblowing insights.”

–Priscilla Warner, author of Learning to Breathe and co-author of The Faith Club

“After reading The Science of Yoga, I am even more awed by the magnificent complexities of the human body and mind, and astonished that we can exert so much control over this invisible realm through the practice of yoga. Broad has not only thoroughly researched his topic, he has lived it.”

–Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams

“William Broad is optimistic and hopeful in pointing the way to its future as a major force in preventing and treating disease.”

–Gail Sheehy, author of Passages in Caregiving

“In this compelling work of investigative journalism, William Broad exposes the ‘scientific’ claims made about yoga—from its much-vaunted healing powers to yogasms—to scientific scrutiny. The Science of Yoga is a wonderful read that any yoga practitioner thirsting for authenticity should study carefully before suiting up.”

–David Gordon White, author of Kiss of the Yogini