Debunking 3 Common Myths of Yoga

Myths about yoga are common, and they can deter or prevent one from ever trying yoga. However, you never know unless you try! Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? In this blog post I will be sharing about the top 3 myths of yoga that have personally impacted me and how I came to realise why they are actually myths.

1. Yoga is for flexible people
From personal experience, whenever I mention yoga to people in my life, their (almost) immediate response is “I’m not flexible so I can’t do yoga…” I recount on when I first started yoga as well and, to be honest, I too had that thought. If I could narrow it down to one reason why I had that pre-conceived thought, it’s probably because I associated yoga with the pictures of yoga practitioners doing intense splits, forward folds, back bends etc. It could be the way yoga is marketed today, in real life through posters or banners as well as on the internet via social media platforms. After practising yoga for a while, I realised how doing yoga actually made me more flexible. Yoga is a practice and a work in progress; one can improve his/her flexibility only through consistent yoga practice. It was then when I finally understood that “Yoga is for flexible people” is only a myth.

2. Yoga is just stretching
This is another common myth of yoga. I personally hear this from people who have never tried yoga or have tried yoga but only went for classes that focus on stretching. It is very likely for someone to have this yoga misconception if he/she focuses on other more flexible students in the class and keeps thinking that he/she will never be as flexible as them. It is normal to compare and feel inferior. At my first ever yoga class, I too had this experience of seeing how others were so flexible and yet I was not. However, I did not feel that way throughout the whole class as we also did sun salutations and balancing postures. It opened my mind and made me realise that there was more to yoga than just stretching. Although yoga is not like weight training or intense cardio workouts, yoga incorporates coordination, strength and balance. You may even be using muscles you have not trained before when practising yoga, and that is what makes yoga more than just stretching. Apart from these physical aspects of yoga, practising yoga exercises your mind and spirit as well!

3. Yoga is difficult
It may seem intimidating when we see yoga practitioners doing advanced postures like crane pose (bakasana), side crow pose (parivrita kakasana) or firefly pose (titibhasana). This can cause us to think that the more advanced the pose, the better the person doing the pose is at yoga. I am definitely guilty of thinking this way in the past as well, since it’s easy to associate tough looking poses with high difficulty and hence identify someone as “good at yoga”. However, in yoga, there is no “I’m a good or bad person at yoga.” Yoga is not meant to be competitive and people who practise yoga should be focusing on their own progress. While this may sound a little selfish, finding like-minded people to accompany you on your yoga journey can make it less lonely and more cohesive. Yoga doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you don’t get discouraged by your own insecurities (easier said than done, I know). So what if you can’t do the pose today? Try again tomorrow! But remember, it’s all in the mind; mind over matter! Be happy doing what you do! 😊