Yoga myth busters!

Yoga Cape Town
Yoga Cape Town

So here is the scenario; after watching an amazing yoga class at your local gym last night with people doing gravity defying moves with blissful expression on their faces, you finally decide to give yoga a try.

You muster all your strength and approach that cool yoga studio around the corner of the house to go and enroll. You get into your car, drive and are ready to approach the unfamiliar territory of this unknown being.

Suddenly fear takes over, your heart starts beating fast, you think of all the rubber like bodies doing asanas and you want to give up the idea?

Sounds familiar? You are not alone! Yoga can be intimidating to many.

The mere mention of the word invokes different reactions in people depending on what they have seen or heard about this practice. To many, this is a sacred line that only a few should cross and being a yogi would involve such strict changes to your life that it is better not to dabble in it.

For some, yoga evokes images of impossibly flexible people bending their bodies in complicated positions which is good enough to scare away anyone even thinking of trying yoga.

To others, it is a very sissy form of “exercise” and is something only women look good doing. A lot of people think they know what yoga is all about and its due to this incomplete knowledge, we often see people having the wrong notions about this ancient practice.

Here is a list of some of the most common yoga myths debunked in the hope that it will drive you into the yoga studios and not away from it.

Yoga is for sissies or women:

Yoga originated in ancient india as an art and science of creating one holistic experience with the mind, body and the soul culminating into realization of your inner self. Yoga was practiced widely in india by everyone be it royalty, saints, commoners and soldiers as a means to stay fit in the physical body, sharp in your mind and aware of your inner self.

The myth that yoga is only for sissies or women absolutely hold no ground when you see many instances of “non-believers” having a new found respect for the practice after just 1 class, in the way it works out not only your body, but also your mind and soul. While doing yoga, you are not in competition with anyone to lift the biggest weight or to run the longest. Yoga advocates the philosophy of listen to your body and flow like a river during any practice at your own pace.

Yoga is only a physical exercise:

Yoga comes from the sanskrit word “yuj” which means to unite or to join. Yoga is union of mind and body, a spiritual science of self realization.

Even though, people tend to think that yoga is a series of exercises with twisted body poses, it is not so. Body and mind cannot operate in isolation.

A healthy mind is a prisoner in a sick body and a healthy body is a hostage to an
unstable mind. Yoga helps you to connect with your inner spirit, which is essentially divine and is connected to the universal spirit or god.

Yoga is a miracle cure:

Yoga is not a miracle activity. A lot of people tend to believe that yoga is a miracle and leads to super human like abilities.

This is incorrect though some people might be lead to believe this because once yoga creates a successful union between your mind, body and inner self, a lot of ailments of the physical body and mind go away.

Life of a yogi is extremely self disciplined and hard:

Yoga is one of the most accepting practices around the world which has been molded, modified and bettered by people to realize its benefits. Whilst the ancient practitioners of yoga lead a life of self discipline and control, today this is no longer the case. Just like in any other practice, you decide how far you want to go with making it the way of life.

Being a modern yogi is vastly different from being an ancient yogi but with similar benefits. You can continue leading your normal life and enjoying the things you enjoy while making small changes to get benefits of yoga day to day.

Yoga can be taught by anyone:

Being skilled in yoga asanas doesn’t automatically make someone a good teacher or a guru. A
good teacher or guru must have many other qualities to go with it.

Maturity, spiritual growth, humility, humbleness, open mind, forming a connection with the students are a few criteria you should look for in a teacher to have a blissful yoga experience. Many a times you see people coming out with negative experience and incorrect notions about yoga when they have had a class with a wrong teacher.

A true yoga teacher doesn’t try to show off how good he/she is with their asanas, but concentrates on helping their students connect with their mind and inner self.

The training must focus intensely on the spiritual growth and maturity of the person, so he or she will be able to practice yoga in the way it was meant to be practiced and taught – as a union between the body, mind, and spirit – and not merely as an exercise.

You need to be a hindu to practice yoga:

Even though yoga originated from hinduism, in modern yoga, your religion can be your preference. The philosophy of yoga does not mention that you need to follow a specific religion to be a yogi.

It teaches that you need to get in touch with your inner divine self. You can follow any god, any religion or even an atheist, yoga is based on unity of all religions.

Yoga is a painful activity:

“no pain-no gain” is not a correct philosophy. When it pains, your body is trying to tell you that it is under stress. Even though a lot of yoga poses look extremely complicated, practicing of yoga can be painful only if you are doing it incorrectly, under untrained supervision, pushing yourself to the limit or not using the correct props.

The practice of yoga has come far from when it originated 5000 years back and lot of props are not utilized during the practice to provide benefits to people whose bodies are not very flexible.

Remember, yoga is not a test of your endurance of pain, it advocates following your own pace and not competing with anyone. So get yourself a trainer instructor and a few props and “no pain-all gain” will be your new yoga philosophy.

Yoga is an expensive activity:

Yoga is not an expensive activity. You can find a range of classes suiting every budget from individual one on one session to smaller studios to classes at gym.

You can also learn yoga under a licensed teacher and then start your practice at home on a day to day basis. Unlike many other forms of physical exercises, yoga doesn’t require a different prop of each part of your body.

A mat, a few props and your own body weight are the only things you need to practice yoga.

Yoga myths or mistaken beliefs can lead you away from what is true about yoga. Seek the help of a certified yoga instructor and correct props to practice regularly and have a deeper understanding of this five thousand year old activity.

You can get started by reading up on yoga, its evolution, types, practices in a range of books available on our website we also have a range of fashionable accessories that can assist yogis at any level to get maximum out of their practice.

By anupama mittal, founder , a one stop online destination for fun, fabulous and eco-friendly yoga and meditation accessories. After all, becoming healthy shouldn’t come at a cost of harming yourself or the environment.

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