Myth #1: You have to be flexible to do yoga
I often hear people say, “I can’t do yoga – I’m too inflexible”. Clients will warn me about their inflexibility as though it is a force to be reckoned with! To be honest, I get excited when I hear someone say that, because to me, they are the perfect candidate for yoga. The idea that you need to be a pretzel in order to do yoga is possibly the biggest myth out there. If you are stiff, that is exactly why you need to do yoga. The irony is that yoga classes are full of flexible people who should integrate some more strength and conditioning into their training regime, while gyms are full of stiff people who need some flexibility! A great yoga instructor will meet you at your starting point, and help you to move with ease.
Myth #2: Yoga isn’t a workout
Yoga classes can be relaxing, but it can also be as energetic and challenging as you like. A strength based yoga program will challenge both your mind and your body. You’ll find yourself sweating in poses that are harder than they look! Yoga is unique because each pose requires you to focus on form and alignment, activating muscles from head to toe. You may wake up the next morning feeling sore in muscles that you didn’t even know you had.
Myth #3: Yoga is a woman’s game
Many yoga classes are tailored to suit the majority of the participants, which tend to be women. On average, women tend to have more range of motion in the hip joints, while men are stronger through the upper body. So, when a man steps into a yoga class for the first time and feels too inflexible to get into half the positions, one of two things may happen. The first is that he may try to do the pose anyway and get injured – which defeats the purpose. The second is that he may leave the class feeling discouraged and thinking to himself, “Well, I’m never doing that again.” The solution is to find an instructor who will design a program that works for your body.
Myth #4: Yoga is for hippies and vegans only: keep out!
Some people go to yoga classes with the expectation that it will be all meditation and soul searching, or worry that they will be judged for not living the ‘yogic’ lifestyle. But yoga is non-judgmental. It is called a ‘yoga practice’ because there is no performance element – each time you step on the mat you do whatever works on that given day. Yoga is really about meeting you wherever you’re at. There is no prerequisite for self-learning and self-reflection!
Myth #5: You’re not missing much
People typically start yoga for a reason – they want to improve their flexibility or heal an injury, and then move on. But more often than not, they realize that yoga is invaluable for so many things. Stress relief, ease of movement, mental clarity and balance are just a couple of reasons to give yoga a try. Yoga can truly change your life.