Misconception about yoga is a reality among seasoned practitioners and beginners alike. Often, these common myths prevent people from even stepping on the mat.
Here are four popular myths that you should stop believing in right now & educate your first-time students to stop second-guessing themselves even before they step on the mat.
Myth 1 - You have to be flexible to do Yoga.
Did you know that Yoga originates from a history that is more than 2000 years old? Yoga poses are only a part of the eight-limb path.
Don’t let the lack of flexibility disappoint you. One of the outcomes of dedicated asana practice is flexibility & mobility.
Lastly, don’t let social media be your yardstick of comparison. You are unique & so is your practice.
Give yourself the gift of time to discover & rewire your system both physically & mentally through yoga.
Remember that Yoga is inclusive and can meet you where you are. So don’t ever let the lack of flexibility stop you from Yoga.
Here is an essential article on myths and facts about Yoga
Myth 2 - Yoga is a workout.
A big myth surrounding the practice of yoga sandwiched with false expectations of immediate weight loss and 6-pack abs is the misconception of yoga being a workout.
Remember, Yoga is a spiritual path with ancient traditions. Yoga is a ‘Work In’ not a ‘Work Out’. Yoga also includes pranayamas (breathing techniques), meditation, and so much more apart from asana practice.
The byproducts of a committed yoga practice are good physical and mental health.
There is so much that yoga can teach; that referring to the practice of yoga as “just another exercise” is a massive disservice to the fundamental essence of what yoga truly is “the union of the body, mind & spirit”.
Myth 3 - Yoga will instantly make you happy and calm.
Ironically most people believe that an immediate result of a yoga practice is happiness & calm.
While this can be true with the passing of time and consistency in practice, it's essential to acknowledge that the odds are you might feel emotionally worse.
The path to achieving happiness and bliss takes time & effort. The truth is the transformation of your mental well-being through your yoga journey involves a lot of highs and lows, and it's not a straightforward outcome.
Showing up for your daily practice no matter what and committing to the mat through good, bad and muddled days will slowly yet surely unravel much more than you expect at the start of your journey.
There will be a gradual transformation, and you will witness it first-hand on and off the mat. Like everything else in life, yoga has shades of black, white and grey.
Myth 4 - Mastering advanced asanas makes you better at Yoga.
A big red flag in the yoga world with the birth of competitive social media yogis and setting false expectations of what yoga should be can be very discouraging for aspiring practitioners.
Yoga teachings are cherry-picked & distorted to gain followers and enhance visibility. Truth bomb - doing advanced poses and acing them is not a sign of your superiority or flexibility.
Less is more, and so approaching yoga for the true essence that it represents, understanding the philosophy, deep diving into the eight limbs of yoga and last but not least, not limiting your practice to just asanas are ways for you to discover yoga.
Some days your practice can be restorative, relaxing or more focused on pranayama versus other days.
The experience of surrendering to a wholesome practice that works for you is far more rewarding than doing complicated poses to please the internet.
Last but not least, yoga is not competitive it is personal, and everyone’s path is different.
The Yoga world is riddled with so many myths & misconceptions. We hope these common yet popular misconceptions are debunked through this blog.
It helps you extend your support to new practitioners and inspire them to take the first step toward discovering Yoga without any preconceived judgments.