National Yoga Month: 5 Common Myths about Yoga
Though the International Yoga Day is observed on June 21, we in the US dedicate the entire September as the National Yoga Month. We thought we would celebrate it in a slightly different way: by busting 5 very common myths about yoga.
Many of us have preconceived notions about Yoga, and it prevents them from practicing yoga and enjoying wellness . It’s important to know the facts, and not act on assumptions.
Myth 1: Yoga is not an ‘actual’ workout’
Did you think that yoga is a very gentle series of stretches with no efforts involved? Do you also believe that practicing yoga, you won’t get a proper workout and it does not benefit your muscles? Or do you want to choose yoga because you have been asked to exercise, and this seemed like the easiest?
From strengthening muscle groups and making them more supple to improving your balance, posture, and lung capacity, yoga can help you deal with a large number of health, lifestyle and nervous system-related complications.
It’s true that, you won’t be lifting weights or doing your normal cardio routines while getting regular on yoga sessions. However, yoga is an excellent combination of strength, balance and coordination. What’s more, you will most likely use muscles that you’ve never used before in your life.
And we haven’t covered yet that yoga exercises your mind and soul! Yoga is the practice of patience, peace and fortitude. It’s definitely not just stretching, it’s a focus on strength – both the mental and the physical.
Myth #2: Yoga is a religious practice
While it’s true that Yoga has its origin in Hinduism, the practice itself is more spiritual than religious, and attempts to create a meaningful bond between your body and mind. You are not required to perform any worship of any deity, or any religious ritual.
Yoga means ‘yoke’ literally, in Sanskrit. Hence, we can say that Yoga is an act of uniting your body and mind. It can help in attaining peace, increasing your patience, and controlling your breathing patterns.
It can help improve not just physical, but also mental strength. On the whole, it’s all about self-realization and awakening your consciousness from within.
Myth 3: I’m not flexible /young enough for yoga
Believe me, yoga can be done by any individual regardless of age or flexibility. Don’t start panicking at the sight of individuals in poses that make it seem like they are made of rubber. Obviously, some of us are more flexible than the others, but this does not mean that you cannot do yoga.
In fact, you are not really required to bend, stretch or flex to the point of pain and discomfort. You can hold the pose in the position you are comfortable in. Yes, yoga can be performed at your own speed and comfort level. Of course, you should challenge yourself, but it can be done gradually. Balance it with ease.
Myth #4: Only women do yoga
This myth probably stems from Myth no.1, that yoga is all very gentle and easy and not challenging enough. Many people, men especially, seem to be under an impression that it’s a very female practice.
Most participants are also observed to be female, making men not so comfortable to join the class. The best way to bust this myth is to see who the first people to introduce yoga were.
They were all men!
A good way to break this misconception is for women to get the men in their families to do yoga with them. Father, husband, brothers, and sons – get them all to your yoga sessions.
They will soon feel the difference in their bodies and advocate it to other men too!
Myth #5: All Yoga is the Same
There are different forms of yoga, practiced in the country of its origin, India – Hatha yoga, Kundalini yoga, Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, and many more.
The most popular form is Vinyasa yoga, and it focuses primarily on linking movement and breath, achieving breathing control, and fluid movements. This is what is taught in most studios. However, there are places that teach other forms of yoga. You can choose and learn the yoga form that suits your lifestyle and requirements.
One of the unique things about yoga is that there is no competition and comparing greatness.. There are no teams, nobody wins or loses. It’s up to each participant to focus on their consciousness and enhance their own strength – be it mental, physical or spiritual. It’s an activity that almost everyone can safely pursue and enjoy the benefits.
What is your experience with yoga? We would love to hear your experience. If you think this article helps you bust a myth about yoga, do share it with your loved ones. Thanks for reading!