I'm sure you've heard it before. "Oh, yoga is slow and boring"... "you have to be flexible"... "yoga is all about doing difficult poses". Let's bust the most popular myths together.
Yoga is playful, it's fun, it can make you sweat but also calm you down. You're doing something good for your mental and physical health and your body will thank you for your practice. Read on and see that yoga is just great and actually is for you!
Among the yoga styles we can definitely find slow and gentle lessons. But there is also a huge variety of more dynamic and physically demanding styles to choose from, such as Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. These types are especially appreciated by those who already have pre-existing physical practices and can be a great compliment. Many active styles are suitable for all levels including beginners as well. Try to find an experienced teacher who can support you with variations and modifications that are right for you! It all depends on your current needs.
Flexibility is a natural result of yoga and with regular practice you will improve your flexibility for sure. Plus, if you are struggling with flexibility in any poses, you can use tools to make the postures more comfortable and accessible. And even if you can't do what (seemingly) everyone else is doing, your practice is still valid and will support progress! Yoga is not a competition so try not to compare yourself to others. The only comparison that is acceptable in yoga is watching your own progress.
Yes, yoga is closely related to spirituality, meditation, working with the mind or visualization. It's roots are the Indian Subcontinent and Eastern religions and philosophies, mainly Hinduism. However, we don't have to follow any strict religious principles or convert from your own belief systems in order to practice Yoga. There are many different approaches and it is up to you to decide which one benefits you more and which one feels best as a practice. The asana practice itself is just physical. It's only ONE of the EIGHT limbs of the modern practice. So it is up to you how deep you want to get (spiritually) in your practice.
Yes, in yoga you will practice a sequence of different asanas, and it is perhaps here that you will say to yourself that it is all about the correct execution of the poses. And that if I can‘t do a headstand, or your legs are bent during a Downward Dog, something is wrong. But that’s not true. The poses can always be adjusted to the level of the yogi and each practitioner's unique body. Remember, asanas are only a small part of the whole yoga, there are seven other limbs. See here:
YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances
ASANA – Posture
PRANAYAMA – Breathing Techniques
PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
DHARANA – Focused Concentration
DHYANA – Meditative Absorption
SAMADHI – Bliss or Enlightenment
Yoga is for everyone irrespective of their age, gender, size, race or religion. Originally, yoga in ancient India was quite an exclusively male practice and traditional style yoga teachers tend to be mainly men. It’s true that modern and Western yoga classes tend to be women-dominated spaces. But everyone can benefit from this holistic lifestyle path! Yoga is everywhere! And really for everyone. So although it may feel like a room full of women, please know that the yoga mat is a place for everyone to find a moment of peace. Yoga has something to give to everyone, whether it's search of calming, stretching, relaxing, connecting to yourself or more challenging physical exercise.