There is a world of misconceptions about yoga out there, and perhaps some you might fall prey to yourself. If you’re a yogi, then most likely you know that yoga is an incredible source of exercise, and a way to get in touch with your body. It can also create balance in your life, improve your flexibility, and is a great way to reduce stress. Yet, for those of you out there who aren’t fans of yoga, be sure you don’t listen to the many misconceptions about yoga, which might prevent you from trying it. Even if you never practice it yourself, at least take away the stereotypes surrounding yoga, and try to create a fresh mindset about this ancient health practice.
1. It’s a Form of Religion
One of the most common misconceptions about yoga is it’s a form of religion. Though yoga is practiced in many cultures where it is incorporated into religion, you should know yoga alone is not a religion itself. It is a simple mind body exercise to put you in touch with your body, spirit, and help you embrace your body through movement.
2. There’s Only One Kind
Another misconception about yoga is there is only one kind. There are actually over 200 variations of yoga styles in the world, and each one is slightly different from the others. Many are very different, such as the difference between simpler Hatha yoga, which focuses on stretching and flexibility, and Ashtanga, which is centered around a constant flow, and is more intense. It also enhances breath, and tones the body. Yoga isn’t the same, and many practices involve chanting, while others don’t have any at all.
3. You Have to Be a Certain Culture
Though yoga stems from certain cultures, you most certainly do not have to be of this culture to do it, and do it regularly. Anyone can do yoga, just like anyone can ride a bike, run, or walk. If you want to try it, don’t let this mindset hold you back!
4. A Class is Necessary
I’ve been doing yoga 6 years and have never been to a class. I do it all in my home, and taught myself. Since starting, I’ve progressed through multiple DVDs and videos online. Doing it in your home is free, and there are many instructors on the web that can teach you a lot about this wonderful form of exercise. It’s great to take a few classes, but definitely don’t feel like it’s a must to learn the practice.
5. It’s Boring
Another top misconception I hear about yoga is that it’s boring. Nonsense! I understand it’s not for everyone, but when you practice yoga, you should know the purpose is to teach you how to get in touch with your mind and body. If that sounds silly to you, it might not be for you. However, it can help people overcome body and self esteem issues, help you appreciate your body more, and can enhance other forms of exercise by making you more flexible.
6. It’s a Waste of Time
Yoga is often thought of as some leisurely activity that’s a waste of time, or that’s for spiritual junkies only. That’s a huge misconception! In fact, yoga has made other parts of my day much more enjoyable by helping me feel more relaxed and focused.
7. It Helps You Lose Weight
I’m sure you’ve heard that yoga can help you lose weight. Just like any other form of exercise, that is often taken out of context. Yoga can contribute to a healthy lifestyle that is geared towards weight loss, but it isn’t a magic bullet. A healthy diet, some form of exercise, and listening to your body’s true needs are what help you lose weight. Yoga can most certainly be a part of that, and is a great way to reduce stress that might lead to weight loss, but it alone isn’t the one way ticket.
I’m sure many of you have either heard or believed some of these yoga misconceptions yourself. Which one have you heard most often, or is there another I didn’t mention that you might have heard?