Yoga has been in the mainstream for quite a long time, and for good reasons. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health in the U.S., Yoga is excellent for helping people improve their general wellbeing. Better yet, they also say it’s good for pain relief and is also helpful for people living with chronic diseases.
Yoga has long ago gained widespread acceptance, but it still faces many misconceptions. Among them, that Yoga is a religious practice, a wellness fad, or something that’s reserved for women. None of this is true, as Yoga is something you can do regardless of your religion or gender. Plus, Yoga has stood the test of time while other fitness trends have come and go.
Keep on reading through this article, and you’ll learn that Yoga is a form of physical activity that welcomes everyone and can offer plenty of benefits no matter who you are.
Let’s get started.
No matter how long Yoga has been around, one of the top misconceptions that continues to sustain itself is that Yoga is only for women. Even though it’s very easy to see that this misconception is wrong, it still holds strong.
Why? Well, perhaps it’s because of how Yoga is viewed by a lot of people as being a feminine form of physical training with its stretches and poses (which are called ‘asanas’). Besides that, many men avoid Yoga and instead prefer more supposedly ‘masculine forms of training like weightlifting.
The truth is that there is no barrier to Yoga. You’re going to see this mentioned several times in this article: Yoga is all welcoming, regardless of your background or age, and certainly gender as well.
If you’re still doubtful about Yoga for men, check out what popular Youtuber, podcaster and martial artist Joe Rogan had to say about Yoga (heads up, though: the video has lots of explicit languages).
In the fitness and wellness industry, there’s always some new fad or trend that comes out each year. It could be a new diet, exercise, or even a new “superfood” that promises to help you reach all of your goals.
At this point, there are some people who still believe that Yoga is just another one of those fads. Of course, there aren’t as many Yoga sceptics around as there used to be, what with how mainstream Yoga has become.
Unlike the many fads that have come and gone, Yoga has stood the test of time. Not only are there still plenty of Yoga studios everywhere you go, but you’ll also find Yoga classes in regular gyms as well.
When we talk about “Yoga”, we’re using that as an umbrella term. Realistically, there are so many more that are available out there. Here are just a few:
Those are some of the more traditional types of Yoga. At the same time, there are also modern, unconventional forms like Aerial Yoga, Hot Yoga, and more.
Yoga has its origins in Hinduism, though it’s not a religious practice in itself. Sure, some might consider it a spiritual practice that makes them feel closer to God, the Universe, or just closer to themselves. Still, it’s not a form of worship.
As such, you’ll find Yoga practitioners from all sorts of religious (and non-religious) backgrounds.
There’s also a popular misconception that Yoga is not a ‘workout’ in itself but is just a few complex forms of stretching. While it’s true that flexibility is one of the most significant benefits you can get from Yoga, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the practice isn’t physically demanding.
Holding a Yoga pose (or asana) isn’t just going to help lengthen your muscles (making you more flexible). Still, it’s also going to challenge those muscles and make them stronger as well.
Watching a room full of experienced Yoga practitioners can be pretty intimidating to a newbie. That’s why many people tend to believe that you must already have a high degree of flexibility before even stepping into a class.
That’s not true. Sure, some advanced Yoga poses require higher-than-average flexibility. Still, you’ll only do them when you’re ready. In the meantime, there are plenty of easier asanas for newbies who are still developing their flexibility from scratch.
This misconception is quite easy to debunk since it’s all in the name. “Yoga” means “union”, as in the union of the body and mind. The practice of Yoga is just as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one.
How? Well, as mentioned earlier, Yoga poses can be very physically challenging. Even Joe Rogan said so himself in that video linked early (here it is again). Over time, Yoga teaches you to maintain your composure, balance, and mental focus while holding those challenging poses.
To the unfamiliar, Yoga might seem to consist only of the most complicated poses or asanas. Still, don’t forget that the practice also consists of plenty of simpler, more straightforward poses. Each and every asana offers unique benefits and challenges the body in its own way, so you don’t need to jump to the most challenging ones just to get a good workout.
Relax. Being a meat-eater doesn’t disqualify you from joining your gym’s Yoga class!
Firstly, suppose you’re interested in doing Yoga as a form of exercise at your local Yoga studio or a class in your gym. In that case, there is no rule against meat-eaters joining.
However, suppose you’re interested in taking your Yoga practice to another level and becoming a Yogi (a Yoga practitioner). In that case, there’s something you need to be aware of.
In the world of Yoga, there’s a long-time, ongoing debate about whether or not a Yogi should consume meat. There are too many details about it to cover here, but here’s the short version:
Needless to say, the debate still continues, and there are Yogis on both sides of that fence. Still, that’s a discussion for another article, not this one.
In today’s world of Youtube and online learning, a lot of people believe that they can learn Yoga by themselves without leaving their homes. Okay, so this is probably just half a ‘misconception’.
Yes, you can pick up the basics of Yoga entirely by yourself by watching videos and reading articles about it. Still, you won’t get the whole experience without being in some sort of a class.
Why? Because being in that kind of setting will help you learn from other people, including your Yoga teacher. The mentorship that you get from others will go a very long way towards helping you to get the most out of your Yoga practice.