During the first weekend of yoga teacher training we discussed a few common myths about yoga.
Yoga is too expensive
This is one myth about yoga that even I admit is easy to believe. But I have found there are plenty of ways to practice yoga without breaking the bank. I’ve been to plenty of donation-based classes which I found by searching on google, meetup.com and even craigslist. A lot of studios will have free or donation-based classes once or twice a month. Of course there are many yoga dvds you can purchase to use at home and there are even tons of free yoga videos on youtube that you can use at home.
Yoga is only for women
First of all, I know this one is false because every class I attend has a mix of men and women. Second of all, even if this were true I would not see that as a reason for anyone not to do yoga. But here’s an interesting article about male athletes who do yoga if you need any proof that yoga is great for men, too.
Yoga is off the deep-end, hippy-dippy new-age BS
One of the things I like most about yoga is that it is whatever you want it to be. These days there are so many different types of teachers and studios offering many different kinds of classes that you can find something that will suit your needs and preferences. If you are interested in yoga for the physical benefits you can find classes that will focus only on that aspect. If you are interested in meditation, chanting, slow moving restorative poses, quick moving challenging flows, etc – there is something out there for you as well. It may take a little exploration to find what is right for you.
You have to be flexible to do yoga
The number one myth I hear about yoga is that you have to already be flexible in order to do it. Anyone who has done yoga will tell you that “I’m not flexible enough” is probably the silliest of all excuses not to try yoga! In fact, it is one of the best reasons to try yoga. Incorporating yoga into your routine will help to increase flexibility, strength and alignment and it you are lacking in these areas it’s more of a reason to participate in yoga than to avoid it. I would tell anyone who believes this to go to a class and give it a try. You may not instantly be able to get your body into the deepest of poses right away, but you will feel better at the end of the class than you did at the beginning!
Beginning where you’re at
Which leads me to the next concept we discusses during yoga teacher training. The idea of beginning where you’re at, honoring your body and letting that be ok. This will be a very important thing to remind our students of on a regular basis. Because it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to get caught up in how you wish your body looked or what you wish your body could do.
The goal is not to attain the asana but to attain the strength and flexibility that will enable us to do it.
If we can take a step back and remember where we are and appreciate what our bodies already can do then we will truly see the benefit of yoga.