I’ve heard a lot about yoga recently, in the press, amongst friends, even people in the local shop. I’ve been ‘doing’ yoga for about 15 years on and off and teaching for almost 4 years. I do have some strong opinions on things like ‘beer yoga’, hot yoga, the Instagram yogi set etc. but they are my opinions and live and let live I say.
I do however get a little sad when I hear people so off track about yoga that they seem to be confusing it either with; spending an hour lying down OR spending an hour upside down and sweating! So here are some myths about yoga I would like to dispel.
1. Yoga is all the same. Yoga is so very very old, and when something is this old it is going to have many off shoots, interpretations and followings. It may seem confusing but a yin yoga class and a vinyasa yoga class are extremely different. Yes we all (hopefully) share the same respect for the body, mindfulness, kindness to yourselves and bring in some of the yoga sutras however its like saying chocolate ice cream is the same as raspberry.
2. Im not flexible enough for yoga. You do not need to be flexible for yoga! I repeat YOU DO NOT need to be flexible to do yoga. Saying this is like saying you need to be a fish to swim, or my favourite – that your too dirty to take a bath! One of the many benefits of yoga is, that over time and with commitment you WILL become more flexible. You need some patients yes, you also need to be kind to yourself but you will improve I promise
3. Yoga is EASY. Oh where do I start with this one….So you are going to spend an hour at least moving your body, you are using muscles that you probably don’t use often. You are getting into positions that you don’t normally get into. Does that sound easy? Yes the slower classes might not get you poring with sweat, but I guarantee you if you are trying, and putting in the effort your body will feel it. And remember you only get out what you put in, like with most things in life.
4. Yoga is boring. I understand that not every class is going to suit every person. Some prefer slow, some prefer fast. One person might love pranayama (breathing) another might simply be in class for the asana (movement). If you find the right teacher for you however your needs should be met, they might even give you something you never new you needed.
5. All yoga teachers are clam, grounded and never get angry. If you believe this one you might just believe that pigs can fly. Speaking for most of the yoga teachers I know, we came to yoga cause we all needed something to calm us. For myself I started yoga simply to be more flexible. It has ended up giving me a deeper knowledge of myself, helping me manage my anger, my anxiety and my fears. I still get angry and unhinged, but I can (mostly) be mindful of my thoughts and channel my energy so I don’t let my emotions control me. I will still bite you if you try to take food off my plate though!
I’m sure I’ve missed a load out, I might even make this a monthly series! Let me know the myths you’ve heard.