Ten common myths about Yoga
You want to start Yoga but you have pictures in your head of fit, bendy, strong women in Lycra standing on their heads.
As a teacher, I’m passionate about the benefits of Yoga to all. It’s greatly fulfilling seeing participants enjoying their Yoga practice, becoming stronger and improving self-worth but I often get the same comments and reasons why Yoga is not for them– most of which are myths. It is obviously a real concern for many and stops them from joining a class or starting to practice Yoga. My advice is to try several classes, try several teachers, have a go at some online classes and see what style you are suited to. These are all real comments that I have received over and over again.
1 – “I am not flexible enough to do Yoga”
Every body has different imbalances in their bodies with strengths and weaknesses; Yoga helps to bring mobility and movement into all joints and the spine. Mobility is about free movement and creating flexibility to be able to function properly. There is NO REQUIREMENT to be flexible to start Yoga. You will increase flexibility, strength and balance as you progress.
2 – “Yoga is only for young, thin women in lycra”
Social media has a lot to play in this visualization, it maybe that classes like Hot Yoga include reduced clothing to do with the nature of the temperature. In reality classes are a total mix of age, sex and clothing.
3 – “Men don’t go”
Again media myth, Yoga is for both sexes and many men do attend seeing the benefits to the mind and body.
4 – “It is all chanting and sitting cross legged”
Easy Pose (cross legged) is a common position in Yoga usually used at the beginning or end of classes. If you can’t cross your legs, it is easily adapted with a block to sit on until over time this position becomes comfortable. Some classes do offer chanting but many don’t, and this is where understanding about the class you would attend is key.
5 – “I don’t understand Yoga”
Yoga can be a class you go to once a week for some stretching, or a life dedication incorporating, diet, mindset, meditation and daily practice.
As an ancient form of exercise evolved to create comfort in meditation, the philosophy and the ancient Sanskrit text can be complex but a good teacher won’t confuse you.
6 – “Tried Yoga once and hated it, we laid still talking about lights flowing over my body”
Most classes and practices will incorporate some sort of relaxation or meditation. Yoga can give you time to relax and reflect. Teachers can approach this in different ways from silence to a guided meditation. It can take some time to learn how to relax and switch off your busy minds to feel the benefits of relaxation.
7 – “I can’t do handstands”
And the question is – do you want to? If you don’t then you will be offered a different pose, if it is something you wish to try then you will be taught. Only advanced classes would include handstands.
8 – “Yoga won’t work me hard enough”
There are many types of yoga. For those who want a more vigorous workout, try a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class. These classes will get your heart rate up, build strength, and burn calories. Even the slow forms of Yoga such as Hatha will build strength and heat in the body and are still challenging.
9 – “Too old”
Finding the right type of class is crucial, age is irrelevant but research isn’t. The strength and balance gained in Yoga will benefit the older population and help prevent falls. Making sure the class is suitable for your age range is the first place to start.
Hatha yoga is slower with more static postures, which can be more suitable for beginners.
10 – “Too difficult for me”
If you try and it isn’t for you, don’t give up but find another class or style. Take a beginner’s class or workshop and ease yourself into regular classes.
Research is important, you can read my article on the different types of Yoga to help you. Click here to read.