We can safely say: yoga has won worldwide popularity and has presented an invaluable source of internal strength to a huge number of people. But, despite the fact that yoga continues to actively penetrate into our culture, erroneous ideas about it do not disappear anywhere and successfully take root in the mass consciousness.
Everything would be fine, but it is they who become the main reason for self-doubt and fear of yoga. Because of the myths roaming the Internet, many deprive themselves of the opportunity to develop stress resistance, develop a sense of balance, but most importantly – to come to harmony within themselves.
We have compiled a list of the most popular misconceptions about yoga that prevent us from enjoying it to the fullest.
Myth #1: You have to be very flexible to do yoga
No, and again no: yoga classes do not require stretching, like gymnasts, and beginners do not need to ideally reach their toes with their hands and stay in this position for several minutes. The most important thing in yoga is awareness and a sense of the body at every moment of the exercise – no matter how successfully it is performed.
Yoga gurus are strongly advised to concentrate more on inner sensations and understand which postures help to immerse in the best. Remember: yoga is a state of mind, body, and lifestyle. But if you also want to develop flexibility, then yin yoga is the best possible solution: it helps to increase the flexibility of the ligaments and the mobility of the joints.
Myth #2: Yoga is expensive
In the age of the Internet and open space, such a statement sounds unconvincing, to put it mildly. In big cities, yoga practices in park areas have long gained popularity, as well as outdoor yoga tours in nature around the world. As a rule, they are held free of charge and require only prior registration.
Yoga can be practiced even while traveling as if it is Canada, the USA, Europe, or the UAE, and at no additional cost. It is enough to walk or ride a bike to the nearest park to meet the sunrise and be alone with yourself and nature. If you are with friends or like-minded people (who are easy to find on the Internet) you can chip in and, for example, rent Range Rover in Sharjah together to drive out of town for outdoor practice.
Plus, you can easily find complete video courses on YouTube or any other platform.
Myth #3: Yoga can only be practiced in a good mood
Of course, yoga is associated with inner harmony and balance, but this does not mean at all that you have the right to stand on the mat only when you radiate universal happiness and positivity. Professional yogis are always advised to be aware of and let through all the emotions that arise during the training.
For example, if during “Downward Dog” you feel irritated, angry, excited – try them with every cell of your body, without going into introspection and searching for reasons. Indeed, this approach is the essence of yoga – to be one “me” at every second. What you feel here and now is exactly what you need to feel in order to heal and move to a new level of your existence.
Myth #4: Yoga is a Pose
Another common misconception is that so many people associate yoga with fitness and perceive it as a set of exercises aimed at strengthening muscles, stretching, and teaching proper breathing. On the one hand, there is some truth in this thought, but only a small fraction.
The fact is that yoga includes a very different spectrum of asanas – from the headstand to hatha yoga and restorative practices. The complexity can vary, but the physical side is only the first step of yoga, which, of course, is not limited to it.
Myth #5: Yoga is for the young
A young beautiful girl standing in an asana somewhere in nature – a classic version of a poster for yoga studios. It is not surprising that the majority perceive yoga as an activity “for the young.” And if we take into account the myths already listed, especially about the high cost and flexibility, then everything immediately falls into place.
Indeed, it is much more difficult to imagine older people performing asanas on a rug with them. However, statistics show the opposite: the fastest growing yoga groups are formed by people 60+. As you know, yoga and yoga therapy are extremely effective for healing the body and preventing diseases at any age, so the higher the age category, the more relevant they become.
Myth #6: Yoga is for women
Another common myth that yoga is only suitable for women is a pure lie, although it would seem that in the classroom most of the practitioners are still women. But the fact remains: some men turn out to be tougher and more patient than many women, and they perform asanas as if it costs them nothing.
If we approach the issue from the philosophical side, that is, from the one from which professionals see it, then yoga is, first of all, about a person’s search for himself, so here it is not necessary to talk about belonging to a man or a woman.
Myth #7: Thanks to yoga, the body will quickly become toned
If you do yoga regularly, follow the technique of performing each asana, and know how to keep concentration throughout the entire practice, then your body will really change for the better: your internal muscles will tighten, the relief of the body will become more clearly defined, and with stretching, progress will finally be made. But a small caveat is important in all this: the result will not show itself immediately.
Regular classes for many months will help to achieve visible changes – but even this depends on your individual characteristics: for some, three months will be enough, and for some, six months of intensive yoga will not be enough.
After all of the above, you probably understand how far yoga is from the myths that are attributed to it.