There are so many misconceptions about yoga out there that it can be all too easy to not give the practice a try or hinder yourself from getting the most out of a class. Despite its growing popularity and the countless benefits of practicing yoga, even people who have never even tried the workout are spreading misconceptions. I don’t have time to do yoga, I’m not flexible enough, I need to lift or do cardio, it won’t help me lose weight, it’s a religion, it’s a cult, etc. Wrong, wrong, and wrong!
Read through our list of common misconceptions about yoga and see if any of these thoughts go through your mind! Chances are, we will prove you otherwise, giving you the opportunity to try yoga with an open mind and start reaping the benefits!
I’m not flexible enough for yoga.
One of the best lines regarding this misconception about yoga is that you are not performing, you’re practicing! Yoga is a practice, you grow each time you try it, and some days it feels easier than others. If you’re not flexible for yoga now, when will you ever be flexible? The numerous yoga poses out there build upon each other, so even those of us who are about as stretchy as an old rubber band are able to progress and grow to be as stretchy as Gumby!
Yoga is a religion.
While some who practice yoga view it as a spiritual experience, according to the American Yoga Association, yoga is not a religion. Yoga inherits some concepts from Buddhism and Hinduism; however, yoga can be whatever you make it! Having an open mind when you step on your mat and giving yourself the freedom to let your mind focus on your body and nothing else, allows you to make yoga a time for relaxation, stress relief, spirituality, physical activity, stretching, or whatever else you may need.
I can’t do yoga today; I need to workout.
The number of times I have heard people use this excuse to not attend a class is frustrating because of how good of a workout yoga can be! There are several types of yoga that can suit your needs depending on your workout goals. If you wanted to do cardio to get a good sweat in, try an ashtanga, Bikram, or hot yoga class. Looking to build strength? Look for class descriptions such as power, vinyasa, or anusara. If you’re seeking some rest and relaxation to rejuvenate your body, give restorative or hatha yoga a shot. Just like any other form of exercise, yoga offers modifications to each pose that can make them more or less challenging, suiting all of your workout needs!
I don’t have time to do yoga.
Sure, most structured classes offered at gyms and studios consist of 60-90 minutes of flowing through poses. Don’t have that kind of time? Understandable! There are plenty of days where setting aside a solid hour for a workout is just unfeasible. There are also plenty of days where we could use a short 10 minutes of relaxation and stretching for our minds and bodies to recover. That’s where YouTube comes in! A large amount of yoga enthusiasts share their yoga classes on YouTube, with workouts that last as little as 5 minutes. Check out your local fitness or department store for DVDs that offer yoga workouts of various lengths, too. There’s something for everyone!
Yoga is expensive.
Many workout trends and fads can become quite pricey such as Cross Fit, group classes, personal trainers, even your gym membership! The good news about yoga is that there are options. You can pay to attend a studio and receive personal attention with others who share a common interest. Many studios also have mats and props for you to borrow, so you don’t need to invest money in your own. Or, you can borrow yoga DVDs from your local library. Another option is viewing yoga classes on YouTube – many are free, too! And while a mat is beneficial, a simple bath towel can do the trick for helping you keep your balance, as well.
So, kick off your shoes and tap into your breathing. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you as you sweat, breathe, twist, stretch, and strengthen your way to a healthier you!