When someone mentions yoga to you, what immediately comes to mind? Flexibility? Strength? Yoga pants?
Whatever the case, there are some common myths associated with this ancient form of exercise. Read on as we debunk five of these yoga myths.
MYTH 1: You need to be flexible to do yoga.
We are not all born flexible. Yes, some people may be able to stretch their legs to their ears, but then there are those who can’t touch their toes. Yoga is for both of those groups and everyone else in between. The truth is many people do yoga to gain flexibility; they don’t start off that way.
Instructors won’t be too focused on your flexibility as much as your posture and that you’re breathing the right way. The more you practice, the more flexible you’ll become!
MYTH 2: Yoga is not exercise.
Anyone who has practiced yoga will tell you this is the furthest thing from the truth. You can break a sweat as you work through various yoga poses and we’re not just talking about hot yoga.
Even during restorative yoga, which is a less physically challenging practice compared to other styles, you will feel the poses throughout your body as you use your muscles to stay strong and focused. Just because you’re not running five miles doesn’t mean you’re not exercising and challenging your body.
When you’re doing yoga, your body is your set of weights. For many, this is more difficult than lifting actual weights in the gym.
MYTH 3: Yoga is just for women.
Walk into any yoga class and you’ll see men holding their pose just as frequently as women. Yoga provides great toning for men, just as for women, and is effective in relieving stress.
In case you don’t believe that men do yoga, well-known males who practice yoga regularly are Matthew McConaughey and Adam Levine! If you’re a man who’s reading this, don’t miss out on what could be your best exercise for your mind, body, and overall health. Give it a try!
MYTH 4: Yoga is a religion.
Many people subscribe to the thought that yoga is a practice specific to the Hindu or Buddhist religion, but that is not true. Yoga is not a religion; rather it is a philosophy or way of thinking, and a physical practice. It may begin to feel “spiritual” because it often leads to extreme focus, calmness and sometimes meditation, but it is not a religion.
Yoga is about being mindful and becoming in tune with your mind and your body. Yoga benefits all, no matter the religion, by finding balance within the nervous system and stilling the mind through various poses and exercises.
MYTH 5: Yoga takes too much time.
It is true that most yoga classes at a studio or gym are one hour long. But, if you don’t have an hour to commit, that doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga.
There are plenty of online videos and YouTube tutorials with sessions as short as two minutes! With mini sessions like that, you can sprinkle a few throughout your day and do them whenever you can. Sometimes you just need a pose or two to loosen a tight muscle, release some endorphins, or relieve a bit of stress.
Yoga is more than just holding poses; it’s very much about breathing. The next time you practice, try taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Tuning in to your body and calming yourself is just as much a part of yoga as the yoga flow itself.
Once you understand the true benefits of yoga for everyone, you can give it your best shot and really appreciate the practice of yoga. If you haven’t tried it yet, it doesn’t take long to become addicted to the way yoga makes you feel and to recognize the benefits!