There is a lot of “yoga” happening in the world today that has very little to do with what yoga really is. Several myths about this ancient practice have long been masquerading as facts. – Isha Foundation
In continuation with Part 1, here we go with more busting of yoga myths.
Yoga Myth #2: You have to be flexible to do yoga
This one is funny. Quite a few of my guy friends say “Omg, I can’t even touch my toes. I’m SO inflexible. I can’t do yoga.” So they don’t try it. Sigh. Humans really are capable of talking themselves out of doing anything and everything. A marathoner doesn’t wake up one morning and just start running 26 miles. In a similar vein, it’s unrealistic to expect to be able to do advanced yoga poses (touching your toes isn’t easy) right away. Baby steps! Yoga isn’t about “who can touch their toes the fastest and most-est”. Give yoga a chance!
Yoga Myth #3: Yoga isn't for men
Man, just because it doesn’t involve WEIGHT LIFTING, doesn’t mean it’s not “manly”. Some of yoga’s greatest proponents and teachers have been men! From Krishnamacharya, to B.K.S Iyengar, to T.K.V Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois – all grand masters of yoga and all are men.
Yoga is for everyone. All the goodness that yoga has to offer such as peace of mind, meditation, awareness, strength, relaxation can be enjoyed by all.
Yoga Myth #4: Yoga is a religion
I wracked my brain on how to say this, but then found this really eloquent description from a reputable source. I can’t top this.
Yoga is in Religion. Religion is not in Yoga.
While Yoga may be in Religions, the many Yoga practices with body, breath and mind, along
with their transcendent goal of direct experience, are generally neither characteristic of Religions,
nor typically practiced by the adherents of Religions. – Swami J
I have students of all different religious backgrounds that come to my classes. I don’t shy away from the spirituality of yoga. All the words and scriptures that yoga discusses are applicable to anyone and everyone. Non-violence, truth, compassion, the 7 chakras, study of the Self, focused awareness, meditation are all various techniques and tools that yoga has to help us understand our inner workings and connect with who we truly are underneath it all.
Deepak Chopra says:
If by religion we mean the religious experience of transcendence, the loss of fear of death, and the emergence of platonic qualities such as truth, beauty, goodness, harmony, and evolution, then yes, yoga can give us a religious experience. It is not religion in the form of ideology, dogma, belief systems, or compliance; it’s a spiritual experience that gives us access to a universal domain of reality.
Yoga transforms. It truly does.
I really do hope that those of you who may have reservations about trying yoga, do give it a shot!
As always thanks so much for stopping by and reading!