So many people have different perceptions of yoga and the myths of yoga. For example “I’m not bendy or flexible enough to do yoga” Ahh that definitely is a common misconception of yoga. So I've put together 6 Myth Busters of Yoga. I will do another 5 in the next blog post.
1. Yoga is not very difficult?
Myth Half Busted depending on which type of yoga:
It really depends on the classes you go to. Hatha classes are any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won’t work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.
Then there is Ashtanga yoga which follows a specific series of postures which are repeated every week. This builds up a sweat and each style links every posture to a breath. This is a hot and sweaty yoga practice and probably not one a novice yoga person should start at.
Then there is Vinyasa yoga which is known for its fluid movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes are the same. I teach Vinyasa yoga and I absolutely love it. I really work up a sweat and so do the yogis in my classes.
Then there is also Bikram yoga. This is where the room is heated to around 106 degrees and you sweat buckets. There is a series of 26 postures to do and it always follows the same sequence. This can be very challenging and demanding on your body so probably best not to start your yoga practice here first. Try hatha yoga before starting any of the other styles and then progress from there. You will find which class suits you the most.
2. You have to have special yoga clothing to go to a class?
You definitely do not need special yoga clothes. You can turn up to a class in just a tee shirt and loose trousers or leggings. Yes yoga is becoming very fashionable and some people want to wear yoga specific clothes but it’s entirely up to you what you wear. Yoga as it stands is not a competition in any shape or form and this includes clothes. A vest top and shorts would be a good idea for a Bikram yoga class as you will sweat buckets. A baggy tee and trousers or leggings will be fine for Hatha yoga and maybe a vest top or tee and leggings for Ashtanga and Vinyasa class.
3. I’m not bendy or flexible and I’m too large to do yoga?
Any size and shape of person can practice yoga? You really do not need to be skinny or bendy and flexible to practice yoga. All it takes is a bit of faith and trust in yourself and then you will be amazed at what your body can actually achieve. The teacher may even give you a little bit of pixie dust to help you into head stand pose :o) (I’m a huge Disney fan) You just have to believe in yourself, breath in the right order and practice the postures. That way you will become stronger and suppler without even knowing it. Some larger people will say I can’t do yoga and give all these different excuses. Yoga is amazing for anyone especially larger people as it is so low impact on joints that it is definitely one sport large people can do.
4. I don’t feel like I can go to a class as there will be too many experienced people?
There are all different levels of yogis in any class you go to. You just have to turn up and see how you get on. The more positive thoughts you have, the more you will relax into the class. It is quite daunting turning up to a yoga class when you haven’t done yoga before. But just inform the teacher you are new and they will be really helpful and understand how you feel as they have been there before on their very first yoga lesson. If you really feel like you cannot go to a class and would like more experience then you can do yoga in your own home. There are so many DVD’s, internet, books, apps and games consoles which all teach you how to do different yoga poses. Start with the basic poses and then work up to more advanced poses. Once you have a basic understanding of the different poses and names then going to a class will really help you to get more out of your yoga practice. Practice every day and you will get better and better at doing each pose. Good luck.
5. I feel uncomfortable meditating when I practice yoga? Myth Busted: Yoga will have some parts of meditation to it. Usually any class will start with a seated posture to gently inhale and exhale to calm your mind and to centre yourself. This allows your body and mind to fully concentrate on your practice. Then you will do yoga poses and at the end of your practice you will have a relaxation pose (Savasana) or corpse pose. This can be usually 10-20 minutes of meditation and relaxation. Meditation really means resetting your mind and letting go of your worries and just being in the moment. People close their eyes and relax into the moment. Yoga to some people is a religion as it is classed as Buddhism. Yoga originated from India about 5000 years ago. Back then and still today it is very much a religion all across the world.
6. I’m pregnant, can I practice yoga? Myth Busted: Yes of course you can practice yoga. I practiced Ashtanga yoga all throughout my pregnancy right up until 39 weeks. If you haven’t done yoga before and you are pregnant then I’d probably say start going to a Pregnancy Yoga class. This way the teacher will be qualified in specific pregnancy requirements and will know how to react to your changing body. I have a lady in my vinyasa class who is around 25 weeks pregnant. She’s still able to do a lot of poses. Inform your teacher if you are pregnant and then you can go from there. Your relaxin hormone kicks in around 20 weeks you feel like you can really stretch in different poses. This is where you have to consciously pull back a little as you will really pull your muscles and hurt them. Just listen to your body at all times and enjoy yoga. I found it really helped with my labour as I knew how to breathe throughout it. I also found that practising yoga gave me my pre baby body back quite quickly. So now we have myth busted some questions regarding yoga, here are some of the most amazing benefits which you will find from practising yoga.
I hope you find this post helpful.
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Have a blessed day!