1. Myth: You have to be flexible to do yoga.
Fact: “Yoga is not just about touching your toes or turning your body into a pretzel,” said Nikki Torres, Beyond Yoga teacher and blogger at prettydarnfit.com. “It’s what you learn about yourself in your journey towards those poses. I always say that the less flexible you are, the more reason you have to practice yoga. Flexibility is something we gain in our practice, not something that is required of us in order to step on a mat.”
2. Myth: Yoga is a religion that’s against Catholic beliefs.
Fact: The common misconception of yoga is that it is part of a cult or religion due to the chanting. “We all come from different religions and spiritual beliefs, and your yoga teacher may have a different one as well,” explained Vinyasa yoga teacher Duds Ignacio. “Yoga respects people of all spiritualities. A yoga teacher would typically say at the end of the class, ‘Acknowledge what divine presence you hold dear to you,’ respecting each person’s spiritual belief.” Yoga encourages balance and harmony, and a sound and kind spirit in harmony with nature.
3. Myth: It’s a light, girlie workout that isn’t challenging.
Fact: “Holding poses for a long time can lead to that ‘bored, are-we-there-yet’ feeling,” said Torres. “But there are different styles of yoga that have varying degrees of difficulty. Your yoga practice can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. Many strong styles, including Vinyasa and Ashtanga, involve holding poses that challenge core stability and the strength of several different muscle groups. Depending on your level of physical strength and how long you’ve been practicing, poses can vary from easy stretches to arm balances (like carrying your body’s weight on your arms) to inversions (like headstands or handstands). An hour of Vinyasa or Ashtanga can actually replace your day’s trip to the gym. Take a class to find out for yourself and you just might be surprised by how strong yoginis are!”
4. Myth: It’s just glorified stretching and chanting.
Fact: “The stretching and chanting are just part of yoga,” explained Bambi Dela Cruz, Yin Yoga teacher. Yoga builds strength, flexibility, concentration, and a sound mind, which makes it both a physical fitness and mind relaxation routine.
5. Myth: Yoga is not for people with injuries or chronic pain.
Fact: Before starting any yoga class, you can speak to your yoga teacher about your special conditions and injuries. They can give you modifications and keep an eye on you during class. Yoga is healing and can help you with your pain relief. [via mindbodygreen]
6. Myth: You can learn Yoga from a book.
Fact: “It’s easy to copy a pose based on how it looks or based on a step-by-step guide. However, what a book cannot tell you are the adjustments that can be customized to fit your body’s needs. Yoga poses are not ‘one size fits all,’ and you need teachers to modify poses based on your body type, flexibility, and strength,” Torres explained. “Although we may self-practice in yoga, beginners must start with a teacher in a proper class,” added Dela Cruz. Longtime yoga teachers still need the help of fellow yoginis to modify or correct their poses from time to time.
7. Myth: Yoga is for fit or thin people.
Fact: The practice knows no size, shape, or fitness level. “As long as you have a body that’s able to move, then yoga is for you,” said Torres.
8. Myth: It takes up too much of your time.
Fact: “Just because you don’t have an hour (or more) to spare doesn’t mean you should stay off the mat. Even short yoga practices have proven benefits,” health writer Abigail Wise wrote in The Huffington Post. According to a study at The University of Illinois, just 20 minutes of yoga is enough to significantly improve cognitive function. As for CGs looking for the full benefit of a one-hour class, many studios offer lunch-hour and early morning classes for the busy office gal.
9. Myth: Yoga makes you sweat out the toxins.
Fact: This is a modern myth that even long-time yoga practitioners still believe. “What we eliminate when we sweat is actually just water with a few trace salts and minerals,” said Dela Cruz. Detoxification happens in our internal organs. Getting rid of toxins and waste is the job of our kidneys, liver, and digestive tract.
10. Myth: It’s too expensive.
Fact: “For those new to yoga, studios offer first-time packages and freebies. Organizations such as Yoga For Life have donation-based weekly classes for people who want to practice yoga on a budget,” shared Dela Cruz. But if you’re serious about your practice, you need to spend the way people invest in gym memberships. Most yoga studios offer weekly, monthly, and yearly package deals. “Once you get the flow, you can do your own self-practice when you wake up or before you go to bed,” said Oliver Loyola, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga instructor. “In essence, you can practice anytime and anywhere.”