The 8 Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga
What are the biggest misconceptions about yoga? Yoga is a very popular discipline which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga asanas were brought to the United States in 1919 by Yogendra, sometimes called “the Father of the Modern Yoga Renaissance.” Since then, yoga has gained popularity in the mainstream fitness world as well as guide to mindfulness and a lifestyle value system.
10 Biggest Misconceptions About Yoga
- Yoga Belongs to One Religion
Yoga is a body, mind, and soul discipline and these three things are available to all humans and exist regardless of religion. Yoga requires dedication to the principles listed in the eight limbs of yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas specifically can act as a value system and a way to live in harmony with the earth and our fellow travelers.
2. Yoga is only poses
The Yoga poses are called Asanas (see the image above) and this is only one piece of what yoga is. Without tribute to the other seven limbs, we cannot truly call ourselves a yogi. The eight limbs are meant to develop a personality, finding your true self and connecting with it. The practice starts with the body but should go further into the discovery of the true self.
3. Yoga styles are a “one size fits all“
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is there is a “one size fits all.” There are so many different forms of physical yoga when speaking primarily of the asanas. The original yoga, as stated above, is not physical, but the popularity of yoga in the US is largely due to it’s physical aspects. I tend to describe yoga as a spectrum and anyone can find a style that works for them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Take this Ultimate Yoga Style Guide to direct you to your fit!
4. You should be flexible
Many people stay away from yoga because they are not “flexible”. We all have some level of flexibility and we can start yoga at anytime. Sometimes we see images online so all the flexible poses that could be accomplished with yoga asana. But this is a small portion of the yogi’s out there. We can adapt yoga poses with blocks and straps to help gain flexibility over time and with practice. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about yoga. Enter here to win a free yoga block and strap set!
5. Yoga is only for young people
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it is only for young people. Yoga, again, is not simply a physical exercise. If the asanas are what you want though, you can always modify poses to adapt to age and physical differences. Practice is what matters and if you practice something enough, it will become comfortable in the body.
6. Yoga is time consuming
Yoga classes can sometimes be an hour to an hour and a half and when you factor in driving time to class, this can take a chunk of time. However, a yoga practice does not have to be that long. A pranayama (breathing) focused session could just be 10 min. Maybe you complete 10 sun salutations to start your day. If you only did a yoga practice once a week for an hour, your body would essentially have to start over each time. It could be better to complete 15 min daily which will give you a daily stress release. Don’t let this biggest misconceptions about yoga stop you from starting.
7. Yoga means a total lifestyle change
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that you need to change your lifestyle to practice yoga. Any physical or mindfulness practice does require attention to be worthwhile but it does not mean you have to change completely. There should be moderation in all things and if you are not prepared to practice a vegan lifestyle or sell all your things, you do not have to. A lifestyle change requires more than just dietary adjustments; it also involves change in thinking there should be service to others, ethical behavior, respect for all religions and people and regular meditation practice.
8. Yoga can be taught by anybody
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that yoga can be taught by anyone. If you attend an instructor’s course and get certified, if you attend Yoga classes for a period of time, or if you have certain yogic books and start practicing, it does not mean that you are an expert who can start teaching Yoga. Before teaching, you should first implement the same in your daily life: be humble, practice the principles of Ashtanga Yoga and only when you feel you are aware of the body mechanics with regards to safety for the student.
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