What’s This Research About?

There have been a number of articles in the lay press about how yoga can be harmful and cause injuries. Yoga schools, teachers, and studios around the world have taken different stands. Some have even gone as far as banning certain types of yoga poses from being taught at their studios. At the same time, popular social media posts display the “right” and “the wrong” way to perform a pose, most often with the purpose of avoiding injury. But is this concern for the safety of yoga reflected in the scientific literature?

The authors of this paper aim to answer some of the questions about the safety of yoga. To be more precise, they have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies in order to know more about the frequency of adverse events (AE) in yoga interventions. This gives the yoga community the opportunity to validate their concern for injuries related to yoga, or not.

What is an AE?

The event was defined as an adverse event (AE) if it resulted in:

1) death
2) life-threatening situations
3) hospitalization
4) disability or permanent damage
5) congenital anomaly/birth defect
6) the need for medical or surgical intervention to prevent outcomes 1–5

All of the above were defined as serious and all other AEs were regarded as non-serious.

Control Groups

For analysis, the non-yoga control intervention groups were placed into three categories; i) usual care or no treatment, ii) exercise, and iii) psychological or educational interventions.

About The Author

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Sara Hoy

TITLE: The Safety of Yoga: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

ORIGINAL ARTICLE LINK

PUBLICATION: American Journal of Epidemiology

DATE: August 2015

AUTHORS : Holger Cramer, Lesley Ward, Robert Saper, Daniel Fishbein, Gustav Dobos, Romy Lauche

Adverse events (AE): for the purpose of this study adverse events that resulted in:

1) death
2) life-threatening situations
3) hospitalization
4) disability or permanent damage
5) congenital anomaly/birth defect
6) the need for medical or surgical intervention to prevent outcomes 1–5

All of the above were defined as serious and all other AEs were regarded as non-serious.

Meta-Analysis: Quantitative review of research results from multiple studies to derive conclusions on the collective body of research (looks at and analyzes data).

Systematic Review: An analysis that answers a defined research question by collecting and summarizing all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria.

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