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Yoga has gone from fringe to mainstream, but not everything you hear about it is true. We debunk some of the most popular yoga myths:
Yoga is only for women
Although your average yoga class is likely to have more females than males, anyone can reap the benefits of yoga regardless of gender. In fact, yoga was originally practiced by men in India thousands of years ago, only becoming accessible to women in the 20th century.
Yoga is too mild
A common complaint about yoga is that it doesn’t look very challenging. As anyone who has ever taken a yoga class can tell you, it’s tougher than it seems. Poses surprisingly engage your muscles in a different way, and some styles can even leave you gasping for breath.
Yoga works best for flexible people
In case you’re wondering if you have to be able to pull off pretzel-like poses to try yoga, the answer is no. Consistently practicing yoga makes you stronger and more flexible over time, but flexibility is not a prerequisite, and yoga is adaptable to all fitness levels.
Yoga is mainly for physical fitness
Studies confirm that yoga is good for your health, and it’s right up there with pilates classes, but the main point of yoga isn’t about fitness. Yoga is primarily a mind-body practice for cultivate awareness—if you end up sweating it out too, that’s only a bonus.
Yoga is a religion
While yoga has a strong spiritual element, it’s not a religion—you’re not required to have certain beliefs to get on the mat. However, some classes may incorporate optional mantras and chanting, given yoga’s historical ties with Hinduism and Buddhism.
There’s only one style of yoga
Part of why yoga has become so popular is that it’s versatile. There’s bound to be a yoga style that suits you well, whether you’re hankering for slow and gentle (yin) or brisk and rigorous (ashtanga), not to mention creative hybrids such as aerial yoga and acroyoga.
Yoga is expensive
The price of a single class at a yoga studio can have you clutching your wallet protectively, but you can opt to go to the studio once a week and dedicate yourself to a home practice the rest of the time. For free, top-notch resources, check out Lesley Fightmaster and Yoga with Adriene!
Yoga takes too much time
You don’t have to commit to sessions worth one hour every time. 20 minutes of yoga can already help you chill out and focus better, and there are many sequences available online that are as short as 5 minutes—perfect for squeezing into busy schedules!
You need to get good at the poses
Despite all the Instagram pics that glorify difficult poses, your progress in yoga is never determined by what poses you can do. Rather, the focus is on what’s happening inside: are you building a better relationship with yourself?
Yoga is completely safe
Yoga may not be as injury-prone as gym routines, but you still have to be mindful. Learn proper alignment from a teacher, don’t push yourself too hard, and take note of medical conditions such as pregnancy and hypertension before trying it.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what yoga’s all about, it’s time to hit the mat and get started!
Featured image: Submitted by author.