From Fiction To Facts: Yoga Myths You Need To Stop Believing In
Yoga is a traditional Indian practice that has several benefits for the body and mind. But in recent times, several myths and misconceptions about this practice have arisen. We have been believing in these myths for some time now and that needs to change.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
Whether you are a beginner or a pro at yoga, you’ve likely heard of some, if not all, myths and misconceptions regarding the practice of yoga. If you’re a beginner, then you must have believed them at some point. I know I have!
Yoga is one of the oldest traditional practices which originated in India some 5000 years ago. The term yoga derives from the word ‘yuj’ meaning joining. Yoga is, quite literally, the joining of mind, body, and spirit. These three (body, mind, and spirit) is what completes our personality.
Just because yoga is a popular practice, does not mean that we are all informed about this practice as we believe. Read on to learn more about the myths and facts about yoga and let us know in the comments below which myth was that you believed in, until today!
Top 10 Yoga Myths You Need To Stop Believing In
Myth #1: You Need To be Flexible For Practicing Yoga
Fact: With age, body movements become restrictive and rigid. To do yoga, you don’t necessarily need to be naturally flexible. Some yoga poses require flexibility but aren’t necessary. If you need to be flexible, then practice yoga regularly. Practice makes perfect, right?
Being flexible isn’t a requirement to do yoga just as being in shape isn’t a requirement to go to a gym. Yoga is all about movements and breathing.
Myth #2: Yoga isn’t a Workout
Fact: Yoga is one of the oldest practices in the world, being practiced for more than 5000 years. The focus of yoga is to combine physical strength with mindfulness. True, that yoga doesn’t involve heavy lifting or cardio but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a work-out. Yoga is a test of strength – not only mental but physical as well.
60-90 minutes of intense movements? It counts as a workout in my book!
Myth #3: Yoga is About Physical Ability
Fact: People have led to believe that yoga is just about touching your toes and being flexible and bendy. Not true! Yoga is about breathing, movements, and mindfulness. It involves more than just physical activity, yoga involves reaching deep within yourself and finding the calm and peace you need.
Not all movements in yoga test your physical ability.
Myth #4: Yoga is for Young People and Women, Only
Fact: To be a yogi, you don’t need to be of a certain age, sex, or gender. If you’re practicing yoga since you were in your teens, good for you! But if you’re starting yoga even at the age of 50 or 60 – amazing! Yoga requires dedication and practice. And to be honest, I have yet to see a sign saying “Men Not Allowed” on the door of a yoga class.
While yoga is predominantly practiced by women, men aren’t behind. Like I said before, yoga is about movements, dedication, practice, and relaxation. Men who practice yoga are no different than women who do.
Myth #5: All yoga is The Same
Fact: Did you know that there are many different types of yoga? From hatha yoga to kundalini yoga, there are so many different yoga to choose from! Every yoga practice and form has a different ambiance, movements, and mood. Some yoga practices focus solely on breathing while some focus on movements.
Not all yoga practices are the same!
Myth #6: Yoga is a Religion
Fact: Yes, yoga originated in India and is traditionally a Hindu discipline but it isn’t a religion. It is a spiritual practice that does not emphasize worshipping Hindu deities. Yoga means “joining” of mind, body, and spirit. It is all about self-acceptance and self-realization.
Also, you don’t have to be or convert to Hinduism to live the yogic lifestyle.
Myth #7: Yoga is Just Stretching
Fact: It might look like it but yoga isn’t just stretching. All asanas (poses) look like stretching and warm-up exercises but it is just a small part of the bigger picture. I’ve said this before, yoga is about breathing and connecting your mind with your body and soul. The poses incorporated in yoga are more than stretching and physically appealing. They also give an intense workout to your mind.
Myth #8: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Do Yoga
Fact: It can be difficult to do yoga while pregnant but yoga is healthy for a pregnant woman. It is a safe and low-intense workout routine that keeps a pregnant woman relaxed. If a pregnant woman is looking to practice yoga, then it is recommended they consult their doctor before committing to it.
Did you know that there are perinatal yoga classes specifically designed for pregnant women?
Myth #9: The More Advanced Poses You Do, The Better
Fact: Yoga isn’t a competitive sport. You do what feels good to you and for you. Everyone practicing yoga should have one goal; to strengthen their spiritual, mental, and physical ability. If you’re looking to begin yoga, then it would do you good to stick to what is good for you. You don’t need to be competitive when it comes to your spiritual and mental health.
Yoga isn’t a sport that needs to be won.
Myth #10: Yoga is Time-Consuming
Fact: Yoga classes – online and offline – range from 30 – 90 minutes. Yoga isn’t time-consuming, it just depends on how much time you are willing to commit to it. Time becomes an excuse when you don’t want to do something. If you have 30 minutes to do mindless scrolling on your phone, then you can take 30 minutes to reap the benefits of yoga.
Yoga is an ascetic practice that requires a practitioner to be balanced – mind, body, and spirit. Yoga helps improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. It can help you relieve stress and relax after a rough day at work (or not).
Yoga is about healing your mind and body not about how flexible, young, or athletic you are. So before you begin yoga, heed these myths and keep in mind the truth.
Not everything is the truth.
Inhale, Exhale, And Relax!