The good news is that yoga has exploded in the Europe and US and more people than ever are sinking into the practice. The bad news is all the misinformation out there that can be at best chaos and at worst a big turnoff for some peoples who would otherwise really love and benefit from the Yoga exercise.
Myth 1: You are not flexible enough to practice yoga.
This is my all-time favorite myth and as a yoga teacher one that I hear frequently. Saying you are too stiff to do yoga is like saying you are too sick to go to the doctor. Stiffness leads to lots of pains and aches. I am not saying it will be so easy, but I can promise that a healthy range of motion throughout the body will decrease your pains and aches today and down the road. Just keep your sense of humor handy.
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Myth 2: You need a certain body type, diet, and outfit.
No, not at all. Yoga is comprehensive and can meet you where you are there are no essential. A byproduct of yoga may be better well-being, physical, and mental health, but I assure you that it is not required to start. I was a train wreck when I began yoga and over twenty years later I am still at it (and hopefully less of a wreck). The best thing about yoga is that you can come as you are and let the exercise tend to you in the most generous way.
Myth 3: Yoga is religious.
Yoga is a philosophy, not a religion. Do some people engage in yoga religiously? Yes, but there is no ethics or required belief system in yoga. The philosophy is meant to employ you in asking important questions, obtaining insight, and making your own informed choices.
Myth 4: Yoga is only for relaxing.
Yoga is an eight-fold path that actually requires a completely disciplined effort. Stress and relaxation reduction is a wonderful byproduct of a focused practice whether that is poses (asana), breath (pranayama), or meditation.
Myth 5: Yoga is just for women.
When I first started teaching yoga, it was about twenty percent men. These days most of my classes are closer to forty percent men. I love the guy who comes into his first class a skeptical and leaves a sweaty, blissed-out convert. Yoga builds strength, creates flexibility, and refines your ability to focus. Do not take my word for it look at all of the male superstar athletes like LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Lewis, Victor Cruz, and Kevin Love (just to name a few) touting its benefits.
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Myth 6: I am very busy to do yoga.
Again the too-sick-to-go-the-doctor analogy applies, except maybe even more here. These days you can get very high-quality yoga online in formats that range from fifteen–ninety minutes. You can do yoga in the comfort of your home through Chandra Yoga’s online courses www.sushilyoga.com and www.yogattcglobal.com. Add in the efficiency of getting to check off all of these boxes: stress relief, skillful focus, and fitness all in one session. Try jus twenty minutes a day and observe the return on that investment. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.
Myth 7: I am not fit enough or young enough to do yoga.
I know lots of peoples who started practicing yoga at 50 or over 60. It is not only a great healthy choice but also provides community and positive social advantages that may surprise you. You are only as old as your thoughts and yoga can undoubtedly affect those too, so get yourself into a class with a good teacher and have some fun.
Myth 8: I am injured I cannot do yoga.
Conversely. I have had many students, who come to yoga while they are convalescing from an injury and displaced from their regular form of yoga exercise. Those who first try yoga as a remedy of rehab, typically stick with it because it not only assist them to heal but can also help prevent future injury.
Author: Dr. Sushil Yogi