Whether you’re just starting your yoga journey or have been practicing for years, it’s clear there are some misconceptions about yoga that are worth clearing up.
With all of the tremendous mind, body benefits of the practice, it would be a shame to never continue down your yoga journey because one false belief led you astray.
Here’s the truth behind some of the most common yoga myths:
Myth 1: You have to be flexible to start practicing yoga.
This is like saying you have to be clean to shower! The whole reason you’re showering is to get clean, not the other way around.
Yoga will help increase your flexibility over time. The beautiful thing about yoga is that you’re going at your own pace. Unlike other sports, it is not competitive and you’re not being awarded a prize for achieving a certain pose or level of your practice.
Yoga is a personal practice that is all about listening to your own body and taking each pose to your own edge. Stop if you’re ever in pain, but a little sensation is necessary for growth. Pay attention to pose modifications so you can start in a more comfortable version of more advanced poses.
If you’re just starting yoga, look for “beginner” or “level 1” classes where teachers will be specifically offering poses that are accessible.
Before you know it, you’ll be touching your toes! The beautiful thing? There is no finish line or completion. Yoga is a lifelong journey that will continue to provide lasting benefits.
Myth 2: Yoga is too expensive.
If you have a computer or smartphone and space to stretch, you can practice yoga. There are a ton of free classes available online to get you started.
Here are a few affordable ways to practice yoga today:
- Subscribe to yoga YouTube channels online.
- Attend donation-based community classes and spend what you can (suggested donation is usually $5-$10 per class). Check schedules of your local studios where they typically offer donation-based classes for the community. Check out the schedules of your favorite teachers, who may also offer their own donation-based offerings outside of the studio. These classes are often taught outdoors in beautiful locations.
- Consider ClassPass to check out different studios on a budget. ClassPass features a monthly membership and the option to attend different studios. This is a great way to find your tribe without committing to a full month membership at just one studio.
- Yoga studios are a great opportunity to deepen your practice with incredible teachers. Check for specials on class packages or unlimited yoga offers. Purchase a package that you will realistically use to make the most of your budget.
Myth 3: I don’t have the right clothes.
If you have sweatpants and an old t-shirt, you have the right clothes to practice yoga. You don’t need a matching set from the latest yoga boutique to begin your practice.
When I first started practicing yoga I would scour the sales shelves and discount stores for a few staple items. I like my clothes to stay put in my practice, so a pair of leggings, comfy sports bras and stretchy shorts was all I needed to get started.
Over time you can treat yourself to a few quality items here and there, but don’t feel as if you need an entire new yoga wardrobe before rolling out your mat.
Myth 4: I don’t have time.
How much time did you spend browsing Facebook and Instagram today? If you have time to scroll through social media, you have time to practice yoga.
The truth is, we prioritize our time for the things that are important to us. If taking care of your mind and body is on the top of your priority list, then so should be your yoga practice.
Even just 10 minutes of meditation a day is considered yoga!
Tip to incorporate yoga into your everyday life: Pick a specific time every day to commit to your practice and stick to it.
If you go to a studio, commit to the same class weekly with your favorite teacher. Or if you practice at home set aside time when you have capacity during the day, perhaps before work to start the day, mid-afternoon for a pick-me-up or a slow flow right before bed to wind down your day.
Myth 5: It’s too hippy for me.
The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are many paths you can take. If you aren’t interested in the spiritual side of yoga, perhaps they physical aspect and anatomy will resonate with you.
Go into class with an open mind. This may be the first time you’re hearing things explained in a certain way. At first, it may challenge your perception and therefore feel uncomfortable. Later in your journey you may find it strikes just the right chord and is exactly what you need to hear in the moment.
Myth 6: Guys don’t do yoga.
More men than ever before are practicing yoga today. According to a 2016 Yoga in America study, this year there were a reported 10 million male practitioners up from 4 million in 2012.
(image via Yoga Journal)
There has never been a better time to convince the man in your life to join you for a yoga class. And if you’re a guy reading this – here’s your sign to start practicing! You aren’t alone.
Things have changed over the years, but what hasn’t changed are the massive benefits both men and women can gain from practicing yoga. If you practice other sports, yoga can be a great balancing act. By stretching your muscles in-between other activities, you’re decreasing the chance of injury.
Now that the common yoga myths are debunked, what are you waiting for? Get out there and practice!