Before busting the myths, let’s start with the basic: What is Yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.
Yoga, a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge is often perceived to be more of a physical exercise of bending, stretching, twisting and turning, but it goes far beyond as it unfolds the infinite potentials of the combination of mind and soul. Having gained a lot of popularity all over the world, this all in one fitness form has also fallen prey to a lot of preconceived notions and myths! Yoga, as a practice, is for all! It is on you, as a follower, to take what you can from the process.
If you’re new to yoga or you’re unsure about going in that direction, explore these myths and see if they may be holding you back from finding your place on the mat. Let’s bust some myths now, shall we?
1) Yoga is only for women
Undoubtedly, yoga ranks higher in popularity among women than men, but history says that men were the early yoga practitioners. This form is genderless, both men and women can gain a lot from regular yoga practice
2) Yoga is a religion/cult
Agreed that yoga originates from India, but making it a religion or a hippie cult is inaccurate. Yoga does have an overlap of characteristics of varied religions but at the core, it’s all about unison of human with the universe
3) Only flexible people can do yoga
We could totally give all of you readers a FREE yoga session for the times we hear this but unfortunately, this is not true! Agreed, to master the art of yoga requires a lot of dedication and concentration but you can’t build Rome in one day, right?
4) Yoga is only about stretching
The classical limbs of yoga enumerated by the great yogic sage Patanjali include rules for concentration, breath control, meditation, physical postures, attitude towards ourselves and the environment, being in harmony with the surroundings by complete integration. Yoga is only to increase flexibility, says no one! It is an integration of mind, body and environment!
5) Yoga cannot be personalized
With multiple forms of yoga like Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar Yoga and so on, you can choose which form you like based on your goals! Yoga isn't intended to be a workout in the traditional sense, but you can make it as hard or easy as you like!
6) You can’t lose weight with yoga
In comparison to physical workouts like running, cycling and so on, yoga doesn’t burn as many calories, but research says that yoga is great to soothe your mind and improve flexibility, balance and strength. If your choice is to lose excess calories, you may approach power yoga, hot yoga etc so that your heart rate goes up and lose plenty of calories.
7) You need to have a lot of free time to practice yoga
Any practice of yoga will benefit you. Even a 10-minute routine first thing in the morning at home will strengthen your body and mind and will give you that zap to get on with your day.
8) Yoga is not for people with injuries or chronic pain
Yoga is healing and can help you with pain relief if done properly. This is a big reason why you should practice yoga. It is advised to speak to your teacher before class about your special conditions so they can give you modifications and keep an eye on you.
Our advice is, take a yoga class with a blank slate and give it a fair chance. For novices, it would be advisable to practice yoga with certified trainers.
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