I recommend you read this article from The New York Times
With our brilliant western brains that always believe it knows better, we managed to go to the core of the ancient yoga’s DNA and change it to accommodate our ways. What I mean by “genetically modifying Yoga,” is the manner in which we have modified it to suit our egos and to fit it into the business world by mixing trends and fashion with spirituality.
If originally yoga practice was meant for going deeper, bringing stillness, finding our inner silence and connecting with our higher self, genetically modified Yoga changed the practice to a fast, restless, physical and aggressive practice, where the main modus operandi for “gaining” is through physical strain and pain, we are all familiar with the expression “no pain no gain”.
When we genetically modify food, by manipulating the natural order of the earth, we pay with our wellbeing. The same happens with the practice of yoga in the modern world. Change it to be a sport or form of performance and you will pay the price in physical injuries and more so by gaining even bigger egos.
You may find, after reading this article, that the descriptions in the article are quite extreme. Trust me, they are not. The only difference is that now the truth of what is happening in the yoga world is starting to surface and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Often I sit with a group of yoga students that are floating from one yoga center to another, from one style of yoga to another and they describe to me the different injuries they collected along the way, since they started their yoga practice. Shoulder, knees, neck, lower back, sciatica, hips, wrists…and the list goes on and on. What amazes me the most is that they do not find it awkward at all that their “spiritual practice” is actually adding more suffering to their being, rather than ease. Look around and you will find more and more balms and other aids for yoga injuries. The New York Times reported that yoga is the second sport that is currently creating most injuries.
The reason for this is first a large number of yoga teachers who, instead of passing on the ancient teachings to their students, mostly approach yoga as performance and they themselves are restless and pushy.
Next are the students who want to change their life but without changing their ways. They bring the same attitude and manners they have towards life, themselves, and others, to the yoga mat, yet they are hoping to experience something different.
I call upon all the hatha yoga teachers who teach the asanas with the understanding that the yoga postures are only a means for higher consciousness and who understand the postures are not intended to be a circus performance, to keep up their very good work. I urge them not to sacrifice the teaching to be trendy, for fame, or to further their business interests.
Lastly, avoid applying external pressure to a student’s body with your hands as you never know what is underneath the skin. Hands are meant to direct, without using force, and intended to transmit love and energy.