When I meet people and tell them I practice and teach yoga I hear all the excuses!
“I can’t do yoga.” “I’m not flexible.” “Yoga is too hard!” “Yoga is too easy!”
The latest Yoga Journal study says 20 million Americans practice yoga and there is a good chance, they overcame these same misconceptions. The truth is, yoga is for everybody. Don’t let these five myths about yoga keep you from starting a yoga practice – it might change your life for the better!
1. You have to be flexible–
This is by far the biggest myth and misconception about yoga. Can yoga increases your flexibility? Absolutely. Is it a prerequisite? Not at all. You have control over how far into each posture you want to move and every posture can be modified. With regular practice, you will see your flexibility improve. Everyone needs to start somewhere. No matter how flexible you are, improving your flexibility is key to staying injury free and helping prevent back pain.
2. You can’t get a vigorous workout–
As a yoga teacher, I know this is not true. I witness the sweat first hand! Like with any exercise, if you put in the work, you will see the results. If you attend a class and are not fully engaged in each pose, you will not see the benefits. The best thing is to find the right class or style of yoga for you. Try vinyasa, power or ashtanga yoga classes that will keep you moving from one posture to the next at an energetic pace. Ask your instructor about adding in more advanced options to keep furthering your practice so you get the most out of your time on the mat.
3. You can’t get strong or lose weight–
Poses like downward facing dog and plank are ideal for building upper body strength and standing postures like chair and warrior help build muscle in the lower body. Holding these positions for multiple breaths is essential for getting strong on and off the mat. Losing weight is also achievable with yoga. While hot yoga and flow classes that require a lot of movement will burn more calories, developing muscle tone will help improve your metabolism. In addition, countless studies have shown that yoga improves sleep which is also linked to weight loss success.
4. I do other forms of exercise–
Yoga can complement any workout you already enjoy! Many find yoga can bring balance to other exercises and activities they do regularly. Cardio lovers like bikers and runners can find breathing techniques beneficial, while those who like CrossFit and lifting can see improvements in flexibility and range of motion. Yoga can help improve any current regimen you already do so you can keep at it for years to come.
5. Yoga is boring–
Part of the yoga practice is to strengthen our focus and concentration. Which in today’s world is hard! We have short attention spans and jump from one task to the next. Having a sharp mind is especially important when juggling responsibilities at work. Sometimes the hardest thing in a yoga class, is to be present. Not thinking about tasks, meetings and action items for the day and stay fully present in the moment. A regular yoga practice can help improve your focus, concentration and help relieve stress throughout your busy day.
Meet Our Guest Blogger:
Cassie Galster RYT-500
About Her: I wholeheartedly believe yoga is for EVERYONE. (Even if you are not flexible!) I’m a certified RYT-500 yoga instructor and attend workshops and trainings year around to further my practice. I aim to provide simple, easy to understand concepts that students can put into practice in everyday life. My teaching style is fun and approachable, and I am constantly learning from my students. I enjoy making connections between the practice and the obstacles we face in life. With time, dedication and patience, yoga can transform one’s life, both on and off the mat. I worked in a corporate environment for years and yoga was my outlet for finding balance. The most important thing yoga has taught me is how to manage my time and energy effectively. When I’m not practicing or teaching, you can find me cooking (and eating!) gardening and going to concerts.