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An indirect yoga hazard: you might join a cult

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Cécile Guerin reports for Wired that the yoga world is riddled with anti-vaxxers and QAnon believers:

In my day job, I monitor the spread of online disinformation and conspiracy theories. I never expected to find them at my yoga class.

She didn’t expect that? Really? Whyever not?! Seems like one of the most obvious places for them in the world, based on my direct experiences with yoga classes, not to mention all the yoga nuts in my inbox over the years, demonstrating their spiritual sophistication by shrieking at me in all caps — the “Fuck you, Namaste!” phenomenon.

When you open your mind too far, all kinds of crap can get in there, and that’s why New Age bullshit is not harmless. Guerin’s findings are a textbook example of how magical thinking is a slippery slope to much more dangerous and all-consuming beliefs. If a place is badly polluted with pseudoscience, it’s not a “healthy” place — it can’t be. And it’s downright hard to avoid the flaky nonsense in yoga studios.

Read about more issues with yoga in The Tyranny of Yoga and Meditation.