I truly believe that yoga is good for the heart, body and soul. I love my practice and I always advocate to my friends to give it a go. The excuses and reasons some of them give for not opening up to such a great form of fitness are simply stigmas associated with yoga. So I would love to clear up some of those myths.
1. Yoga Is For People Who Are Flexible
I’m so tired of people telling me that they’re not flexible enough or that they can barely touch their toes. Everyone starts from somewhere.
Despite being quite flexible as a child, I lost my bendiness around middle school. So for a long time until I graduated college, I was one of those people who couldn’t touch their toes. But since starting yoga and attending class regularly (I was going about 3 times a week. Less now that I’m focused on weight-training), I became noticeably more flexible. Not only can I reach my toes now, I can do all sorts of back bends and stretches.
Keep in mind that yoga is not only about flexibility. It’s a focus on alignment and breath, bringing awareness to your body in the present moment. Being able to bend and fold is wonderful and amazing (and you’ll eventually get there), but how your body is stacked during a particular posture is more important. Having the correct form and alignment will bring the greatest benefit to a yoga practice.
2. Yoga Is For The Young And Skinny
We get this perception that only skinny young people practice yoga. You notice them all over Instagram, yoga magazines and all over the media. But if you really look around, you can spot yogis of all ages and and body types carrying yoga mats on the street or on the subway. That is a more realistic representation of how a yoga class looks like.
The beauty of the practice is that you can be of any ability level, any age, any body type, and there will always be a class suitable for you. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner at 40, 50 or even 60 years old. It’s never too late to get your yoga on! I’m looking forward to being that 60-year-old lady doing a handstand in class in the future.
3. Yoga Is Expensive
Most studios offer an introductory price for first time visitors! There are thousands of studios in every city, you can literally have thousands of “introductory” priced classes.
For those of you who are based in New York like me, Yoga To The People in St. Marks is a donation based studio. You pay what you will. Stores like Lululemon and Athleta also offer community classes which are complimentary. So money should not be an excuse for not doing yoga!
4. Yoga Is For “Spiritual” People
Although it’s true that yoga can bring spiritual awakening, and many instructors infuse spiritual teachings into their classes, it’s not a necessary component to a good yoga practice. You can feel just as fulfilled after a class with an instructor who joked around as an instructor who provided thought-provoking ideologies. I personally like to set an intention before I start my flow and keep my intention throughout each asana. Is that spiritual? I don’t think so.
Finding a yoga class that feels right can have everything to do with spirituality or nothing at all. You don’t have to feel “awakened” to any kind of spiritual belief system to practice yoga.
5. Men Don’t Do Yoga
This one is such a stereotype. Real men do yoga! Did you guys read my “Ways To A Fit Girl’s Heart“? Well, us female yogis love a man who can get down and dirty on a mat.
Yoga requires a combination of strength and flexibility, so while women may be naturally more flexible, men are generally stronger and possess the upper body strength necessary for many arm balances that most women find challenging. Not to mention, yoga was started by men and some of the best instructors I’ve had are males.
6. Yoga Is Not A Real Workout
If you think yoga is just stretching, you’re sadly mistaken. (Just ask my boyfriend… hahaha.) If a workout is what you’re seeking, try a power or ashtanga class. I promise it will get your pulse pumping and sweat pouring. It’s a real cardiovascular workout.
In any given yoga class, you’re constantly supporting your own body weight. During more difficult poses like handstand or headstand, you’re using your entire core. If you lack in strength, you will not be able to hold a pose.
Of course there are also restorative yoga and and other more gentle types of yoga like Hatha, and they can be quite challenging as well.
Did I cover all the stereotypes or myths you’ve heard about yoga? Don’t let these be an excuse to why you’re shying away from the beautiful practice! If you need more reasons, here’s a list of the benefits of yoga. Namaste!
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