8 Yoga Myths Debunked
Myth #1: Yoga only focuses on stretching.
While the practice of yoga does focus on stretching, it is so much more than bending and twisting. Yoga also places great emphasis on deep breathing and meditation, encouraging individuals to relax, slow their breath, and focus on the present moment. And progress is not solely measured based on backbends and balances, but the improvement of awareness you are able to recognize in the present moment.
Myth #2: The greatest benefit of yoga relates to improved physical fitness.
First off, yes yoga does demonstrate physical benefits to the body, including muscle strength, weight reduction and maintenance, and cardiovascular health. But are physical gains the only benefit of the practice? Absolutely not! Yoga also has shown to be extremely therapeutic via mind-body connection to initiate relaxation, lower feelings of anxiety and depression, sharpen concentration, improve sleep quality, and enhance mood.
Myth #3: Yoga is injury-proof.
From the exterior, yoga may look flawless and effortless, subsequently causing less injury. But especially if new to the practice or trying unfamiliar poses, turning into twists and postures may cause pain and lead to injury. Interestingly, too, athletes turn to yoga to avoid injury or recover from one. The poses and motions of yoga help to increase flexibility and stretch out tense muscles, restoring body and muscle functions rather than breaking them down the way a high-intensity workout can. But the bottom line is this: Always be mindful of the poses and seek out professional guidance to ensure adequate safety.
Myth #4: All yoga classes are the same.
Though from the outside looking in yoga may appear like the same poses and postures, each class is far from the same. The various classes and techniques offers the opportunity for all to identify which sort of yoga class they wish to pursue and enjoy to its fullest extent. Looking for a full-on, sweaty workout? Yeah, there is a class for that. Desiring a slow-paced style? Oh, there is a class for that too. Want to sing and chant? You guessed it… There is a class! But even beyond the classroom, yoga can be completed virtually anywhere, including these six energizing yoga moves you can do without leaving your bed!
Myth #5: If you can’t asana with the best, you may as well go to another gym.
No! From beginners to advanced yogis, everyone is allowed on the yoga mat (yes, including men doing yoga). While inexperience and newness can be intimidating, yoga owners and goers aim to be completely welcoming. And not to mention, consistency and continuously attending yoga not only improves physical postures, but strengthens mental clarity. But if too overwhelmed or intimated with attending a yoga class, consider this 10-minute yoga workout for beginners you can do in the comfort of your own house.
Myth #6: All yogis are hippies.
Being a yogi is not synonymous with being a hippie. Though some yogis do embrace a more holistic lifestyle, not all are sporting the stereotypical tie dye and flipping out the peace sign. Some yogis are also not deeply spiritual like popular belief and utilize the practice as a physical means. And like mentioned above, one of the greatest recognitions of yoga is the welcoming atmosphere of differing individuals who at least have one thing in common: The love of yoga.
Myth #7: And all yogis are vegan.
Okay… Not all yogis are hippies, nor are all yogis and hippies vegan. Following a vegan lifestyle dismisses all animal products, including animal-derived foods, clothing, etc. and choosing its adoption is based on personal, cultural, or ethical motives or concerns. Veganism is suggested to not only benefit human health, but continue the natural lives of animals and reduce pollutants in the environment, ultimately nurturing a greener, vivacious ecosystem. Despite the noted health and eco-friendly gains, not all yogis, or quote unquote hippies for that matter, choose a vegan lifestyle.
Myth #8: You must look the part.
Yoga mat? Check. Fancy yoga pants? Check. Necessary? No, not really. Though you be looking the part of a yogi, fancy equipment and clothing is not obligatory. While their use may be comfortable and supportive when flowing through the poses, you can practice yoga off the mat. In fact, yogis encourage practicing not just the postures themselves, but creating the same state of awareness in life that you do on the mat in variable situations. For instance, instead of becoming frustrated in a never-ending checkout line, practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques (no mat required)!