Common Myths About Yoga Busted4 min read

 

“Yoga is not just repetition of few postures – it is more about the exploration and discovery of the subtle energies of life.”

– Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style

You have to be flexible to do yoga

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about yoga when it comes to the apparent necessity of flexibility. Except a select few (people who are dancers or have practised yoga before), no one who joins a new yoga class is expected to be flexible. As one takes up the practise of yoga, the body automatically starts opening up with time and becomes more flexible. So flexibility is not a prerequisite to yoga, in fact, it is the by-product of yoga.

You don’t lose weight from yoga

A lot of people believe that yoga is simply sitting on a mat and meditating. However, that may be part of a yoga class but that is not all that there is to it. A typical class would involve warm up, stretches, surya namaskars (sun salutation), and various asanas and a cool down. Most classes would also involve holding certain asanas for a particular duration, which works on various parts of the body, helping in toning and reducing fat content around that part of the body. Sun Salutations or Moon Salutations are known to help reduce weight as well as tone the body over the duration of time.

Yoga is for older people

When I went in for my first yoga class, I was 20 at that time and almost everyone else in the class was at least 9-10 years older than me. Though now the trend is changing with more and more young people taking up yoga for various reasons. But yoga is for everyone. As long as you have a body, yoga is for you.

Yoga is only about chanting mantras

Even though certain yoga teachers and yoga classes may only focus on mantras or the spiritual aspects of yoga, that is not all there is to yoga. To move on to spiritual growth, to be able to sit in meditation for hours one needs to have a fit body with a strong back and core, which can be achieved by asanas. And everyone’s goal for yoga is not spiritual growth, and there are plenty of different yoga schools & classes out there from which an individual can always pick one that works for them.

Yoga is all about asanas

Because of the world of Instagram and Facebook, we have limited knowledge about yoga and a misconception about what the whole science is about. That’s right, yoga is a science and it is not limited to just the practice of asanas, which is only the first few steps towards achieving the ultimate goal, according to Raja Yoga, which is Samadhi. In the present society that we live in today, the need of the hour is however mostly asanas with a spoonful of mindfulness, with everyone demanding instant results & pay-to-get quick benefits.

You have to be in a yoga class to practice yoga

One can practise yoga almost anywhere. A few simple pranayams can be practised while one is watching tv, cooking, etc. One need not to go to a yoga class to practise yoga, however it does help to have a guide who makes sure you are doing the correct postures in order to help the body instead of unknowingly causing damage to it. But what matters most is how you can apply yoga to your everyday life, and only then yoga can really help you.

You have to give up material possessions & pleasures

In the olden days it was believed that Yogis performed abstinence from food, alcohol or drugs as well as sexual relationships. However, in the present society, no yoga teacher would ask you to give up non-vegetarian food, alcohol or sex. Yoga today has been modified to be suitable for the present generations, and people today have the choice and privilege to hand pick what they want to take from this science & what works best for them.

 

“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.”

– Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style

 

If you are interested in Yoga or want to learn more about it you can connect with me on Instagram.

 

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