So, I was home talking to my Mom about her arthritis and bursitis. And she said, oh, and at the doctor someone told me that the worst thing you can do for your back is touch your toes.
I went out looking for anything that might support that idea, and I found this person, Jolie Bookspan, who attacks yoga and pilates as being bad for the back because of every single forward bending exercise, including seated forward bends, but especially toe touching.
See this article here: http://www.drbookspan.com/BackPainArticle.html
My first thought was that doing uttanasana correctly is back- and abdominal- strenghtening, and if done correctly should be good for you over the long term, helping to bring space into the vertabra and length into the spine. But is that in fact the case?
My second thought was, hmmmm, if correct, is this, in fact, universal advice for people with healthy backs, or mainly advice to people who already have back problems, since you know, by personal and anecdotal experience, I don't know a lot of yoga and pilates practitioners walking around with bad backs, and it seems counter-intuitive that sun salutatinos would have developed as they did over many, many years, for all I know centuries, if people hurt themselves doing them.
Thoughts? Responses from the yoga community?