Myths about Yoga – Busted!

Yoga is an approximately 5,000-year old tradition which be traced back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. Today, around two billion people practice yoga worldwide

‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘yuj’, which means ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. According to the yogic scriptures, practicing yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with Universal Consciousness. Yoga is an approximately 5,000-year old tradition which be traced back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. Today, around two billion people practice yoga worldwide.

Myth 1 – All yoga styles are the same. There are scores of different yoga styles. From athletic to intense and spiritual, the options are endless. If you are trying to lose belly fat, cobra pose is your saviour. Try hero’s pose to improve sleep. If you want to alleviate chronic pain, check out inversion poses. Need to enhance memory? Look no further than fish pose. The bottom line is that there’s a yoga pose for everyone. And plenty of subtle adjustments for the more challenging poses, to accommodate a diversity of practices. Keep exploring new yoga poses and styles ill you find out what works best for you.

Myth 2 – Yoga is only for woman. One of the most long-standing yoga misconceptions is that it’s a practice solely for women. This is far from accurate. In fact, in the early 1800’s, yoga was common practice for the ruling Prince of India, and it was taught to young boys as a “workout”, making this falsehood especially puzzling! Teaching a yoga class or own a studio? Expect to see all shapes and sizes. Today’s yoga focuses on finding strength in balance, and there’s nothing gender-specific about that.

Myth 3 – Yoga is only for flexible people. Have you ever heard that you need to be flexible to practice yoga? That’s another myth! Yoga is for everyBODY. We’re not all super flexible and that’s okay, but that’s something yoga is great at: increasing strength and flexibility. Like anything else in life, improvement comes with practice. Keep at it, and little by little you’ll see a drastic improvement in your strength and flexibility. Even if you don’t start out very bendy at the beginning, remember it’s called a practice because it’s a work in progress. Flexibility is certainly not a requirement to start practicing yoga, but it is sure to improve the more you work at it.

Myth 4 – Yoga is just Stretching, not a “Real” workout. This one is a rumour clearly started by someone who hasn’t attended a yoga class themselves. Modern yoga, having evolved in the past 200 years, combines physical strength and core engagement. If that isn’t a workout, we don’t know what is!

While it’s true that there is no weight lifting or traditional cardio involved in modern yoga, it’s a test in coordination, strength and balance. There’s also the fact that you may very well be using muscles you haven’t trained before – that definitely adds an additional challenge to the workout!

And we haven’t even covered the part of the workout that exercises your mind and spirit! Yoga is the practice of patience, peace and fortitude. It’s definitely not just stretching; it’s a focus on strength – both of the mental and the physical varieties.

Myth 5 - Yoga is a Religious Practice. This is one of those myths surrounding yoga that’s rooted in misunderstanding. From its early beginnings in India, yoga has always been tied to Hinduism; however the practice itself is not a religion. While it is certainly a spiritual practice, it does not emphasize worshiping deities.

So what is yoga all about? The word “yoga” translates to the “union,” as in the union or connection between the body and the mind. As most yoga instructors will tell you, at its most fundamental level, it’s the practice of self-realization and of awakening your awareness within.

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