Yoga is no alternative to regular vaccination

The benefits of mindful movements cannot replace Western medicine.

David Towey

Yoga is a great way to achieve a healthy diet, daily physical activity and good mental fitness, which can certainly lead to better overall health. However, the Nov. 23 column âÄúThe yogic immunity boostâÄù suggests that yoga is a âÄúviable alternative to … vaccinations.âÄù This claim is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst. There are no scientific studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of yoga in preventing illness beyond the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and the placebo effect; vaccines are unquestionably the best way to prevent communicable diseases. Smallpox, which is estimated to have killed over 300 million people in the 20th century alone, was completely eliminated in 1977. This was not achieved through everyone âÄúeradicating toxicityâÄù through âÄúa series of forceful exhalationsâÄù but through a miracle of modern Western medicine and science: vaccines. Many other diseases are becoming increasingly uncommon because of vaccination programs. Those who are not vaccinated are protected by âÄúherd immunityâÄù; since those around them are vaccinated, their risk of exposure is greatly reduced. Few people will deny that our society needs to start living a healthier lifestyle, and doing so will take large steps toward reducing the occurrence of preventable ailments such as diabetes and obesity. But adhering to the delusion that a yoga regimen will prevent the spread of communicable diseases like H1N1 influenza is the kind of thinking that has led to recent outbreaks of whooping cough in Australia and mumps in Great Britain. So you can pose and exhale all you like, but for the benefit of yourself and everyone around you, please get your vaccinations. There really is no other alternative. David Towey University alumnus