Yoga is one of the most popular physical practices across the world and there are a vast number of followers. Yoga is a mind and body practice with a 5,000-year history in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.
But just like it’s burgeoning popularity, the myths and stereotypes about this age-old tradition are also mushrooming, in both real and the virtual world. So, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. Let’s get started, shall we?
Yoga Myth 1: Only flexible people can do yoga.
If you look at the history of yoga, only a very small part of the yogic tradition has anything to do with the physical poses themselves. According to Patanjali, any asana aims to keep the body steady and easy for the meditation practice. It prepares us to gain mastery of the thought patterns of the mind so that self-realization can be experienced. Also, Miller says that the first priority in practicing asana, other than, ‘am I doing this safely? ’ should be — ‘does this feel good in my body?’ “If the answer is no, you’re missing the point.
So we can say not only flexible people but anyone who wishes to practice yoga can do it, regular and sincere practice will lead to a flexible body.
Yoga Myth 2: Yoga is only for women.
If we take a closer look at the people following yoga, we find more women yogis than men. Though men are opening up to the idea of yoga, we don’t find many men practicing it. On exploring further, it was found that the reason a lot of men refrain from pursuing yoga is that they perceive yoga as a softer way of workout which doesn’t go with their masculine image. Well contrary to their belief, yoga can be followed by anyone irrespective of the gender. Even yoga has complex poses which can even challenge the masculine men.
Yoga Myth 3: All yoga styles are the same.
Yogis practice yoga with a desire, some practice for spiritual development while others practice yoga only for physical benefits. Yogis desiring to achieve spiritual liberation practice Karma yoga, Dnyana yoga and Bhakti yoga while the others who desire only physical benefits practice Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga. Some like to practice yoga at a slow pace while some like to practice it with more intensity. Hence the type of yoga practiced to reach what you desire to achieve from yoga also differs for every individual.
Yoga Myth 4: Yoga only for vegan.
Diet is one of the main tenets of the Yoga Sutra and implies that practicing yoga goes off the mat as you are making sure you don’t harm any animals. So, while some may choose to practice ahimsa through veganism, it’s also possible to practice ahimsa by being more loving and caring towards others, by choosing to not be physically violent and by loving yourself. As mentioned previously each yogi practices yoga with some desire and that does not restrict to a specific diet as each body demands a different diet.
So to conclude I would just like to say that take a while and find if any of these myths are holding you back from practicing yoga. It is never too late to start and live a healthy lifestyle!
Don’t practice yoga to get better at yoga. Practice yoga to get better at living!