Time to read: 1.5 mins
Being a yoga teacher, I have come to realise there are a lot of assumptions going around about what yoga is and what it isn't.
Here are 5 recurring myths that I keep hearing when yoga comes up in a conversation… and why they're unfounded:
1. "You can't do yoga if you're not flexible":
This is simply untrue. A yoga class is not a flexibility contest. It doesn't matter whether or not you can touch your toes, and more importantly, it doesn't matter whether the person on the mat next to you can or can't! The teacher isn't keeping a tab and no one gets brownie points for doing complex poses.
Yoga is all about the journey rather than the destination. The only thing that matters is where your own body is and your ability to move through poses mindfully. Flexibility may or may not come with practice, that’s not the end goal!
2. "Yoga is a religion":
It isn’t! Yoga tends to get this reputation because it derives from ancient Indian traditions. At its origin, yoga had actually very little to do with the physical postures that make up most classes nowadays.
Traditionally the practice of yoga was centred around breath control and mindfulness and the main posture in use what that of seating down. Some modern day classes draw more from the yoga traditions than others by including chanting, breathing exercises or meditation. Others will be purely based on the physical practice. There is no right or wrong answer, only personal preferences - trying different classes and teachers will help you figure out what suits you best.
3. "Yoga isn't exercise":
Define 'exercise'! If your view of exercise is restricted to being in the gym lifting weights, then that's right, yoga is not that. Yoga is however a great way to build strength and flexibility as well as nurture healthy joints and a healthy mind.
Different styles will have different levels of intensity: if to you exercise rhymes with sweating, why not try vinyasa flow yoga, hot yoga or power yoga?
4. "Yoga is for girls":
There is no bouncer at the door of a yoga class refusing entry to men! I rest my case.
5. "Yoga words are just too confusing":
Because yoga comes from very old Indian traditions, a lot of its terminology is inherited from a language called Sanskrit. If you're not fluent in Sanskrit or if you're new to yoga, words like Pranayama, asana, ujjayi or chaturanga might get lost in translation. Not to worry, the teacher is there to explain anything you're not sure on!
Need a quickie explanation of 5 common yoga terms? Check out this post!
Lucie currently teaches private, group and corporate classes across South and Central London and intervenes as a yoga teacher trainer on 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training courses.
For more information, get in touch with Lucie