Yoga, can be one of the most challenging physical exercise forms. However, it is also true that it can be tempered down and transform into the most suitable exercise for every level of fitness, and age.
Today, though ‘Yoga’ has earned the reputation of being the most fashionable workout system world-wide, this fact has very little to do with the true essence of yoga. Over time, numerous myths have spread about this ancient practice that have long been masquerading as facts everywhere.
So, yoga is not always what people think it is. So, here are 5 of the most commonly heard yoga myths busted for you.
Myth #1 Yoga is a Religion
Yes, it is true that yoga springs from Hinduism and its source is all the ancient Hindu Vedic texts, which speak about eternal truths and which are one of the oldest written texts in world history. But the essence of yoga is that it encourages one to be kind and compassionate towards oneself and and all other living creatures.
So it’s safe to say that Yoga is a spiritual experience, and not a religious one. Fortunately, the majority of the masses who practice yoga, discover that it only strengthens and deepens their faith more, whatever their faith may be.
Yoga clearly is not a religion and neither does it judge any religion. Instead, the practice is all about the acceptance of all religions worldwide. Yoga is a science for anybody who wishes to make use of it.
Most long-term yoga participants discover that the final and prime goal of yoga is to strengthen our connection with the origin of all creation. For the majority of us, this source is called God, while other cultures might have different names for it.
Regardless of our religious beliefs, we should know that the practice of yoga enhances our physical and mental well-being and also strengthens our relationship to the Ultimate Divine source of creation, however we may perceive that.
Myth #2 Yoga is For Flexible Skinny People
This is a common sentiment among many people who love the thought of doing yoga but have never done it and feel like it’s not for them. These folks need to just look around and see that yoga practitioners all around the world, come from different backgrounds, in different sizes and shapes and different levels of ability. Yoga makes us all more flexible, stronger, more disciplined and more at peace.
Yoga is a wonderful exercise even for pregnant women and those recovering from illness and surgery. Yoga is all about finding our capabilities, working within our own limits and slowly pushing those limits further.
When practicing yoga, our bodies are taken through a range of motions previously unknown to us, working towards making us more flexible, stronger and balanced.
We will experience changes in the elasticity of our bodies. Furthermore, a yoga teacher will demonstrate and encourage variations to suit each person and encourage them on their yogic journey.
Myth #3 I Can Learn Yoga From Books and Videos
Yoga knowledge is available widely today. Bookstores come with numerous books and DVDs of do-along yoga poses promising to teach its users yoga in a short span. Due to this many people feel that they can master the art themselves.
They surely can learn a lot on their own but it is always advisable to go to an experienced Yoga Teacher who will explain the many nuances of the practice, be it alignment details, contraindications to be wary of, things to look out for in relation to our own physical concerns and so on.
To learn any subject, the proper guidance of an experienced teacher, is the best way to assimilate correct knowledge. In yoga, we can get injured if practicing with incorrect form or putting the body into positions not allowed for some ailment we may have.
Myth #4 Yoga is Only For Women
It just so happens that the majority of yoga practitioners and students are women. However, it is interesting to note that for most of history the art was dominated by men and also practiced exclusively by them.
Even today, there are a number of renowned yoga teachers who are men. Though yoga seems to primarily draw in women, it is not gender specific. Increasingly men are doing yoga regularly. Some of our favorite male celebrities who practice yoga are Robert Downey Jr., Adam Levine, and Colin Farrell.
Myth #5 Yoga Takes Too Much Time
Being always on the run with a time crunch, many people are wary of a Yoga Class which is often 90 minutes long. Those who practice know well that there is nothing more satisfying and relaxing than how we feel when we leave a long yoga session.
We should know that we can tailor our yoga practice to the amount of time we can shave off from our daily work and chores. Even very short yoga practices, of 10 to 15 minutes have proven benefits that can improve the function of our brain, the rigidity in our body and our stress levels.
So, the truth is, don’t fall into the trap of using simple excuses used usually by persons who have never tried it, liked it, or ever been to a yoga class. Before you go ahead and write it off just because someone told you something negative about yoga , give it a try yourself and you may be surprised to realize what you have been missing all along.