Yoga: True or False
Even with all of the benefits yoga offers including improved productivity, reduced stress, injury prevention for athletes, reduced blood pressure, and improved sleep to name just a few, it is still a practice many shy away from. So why is there still so much fear? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s the conflicting information available about the practice.
I am passionate about sending a positive message about yoga. As both a practitioner and instructor, there is nothing more important to me than making yoga as accessible as possible to anyone who might be curious. In an effort to do just that, below are 4 common myths about yoga and the truth behind them.
Myth: I have to be flexible to practice yoga.
Truth: Flexibility is NOT a prerequisite to begin a yoga practice. One of the many benefits of yoga is increased flexibility. But if you never start how will your flexibility improve? There is no shame if you can’t touch your toes. In fact, it took me almost 3 years to touch my toes. Yoga is about leaving your ego at the door and not worrying about the people around you. Keep up the practice and you will notice an improvement in your flexibility – physically and emotionally.
Myth: I don’t have the time!
Truth: Even a few minutes per day is plenty to experience the benefits of yoga. If your schedule allows you to attend 60 to 90 minute classes regularly, that’s great. Even if it doesn’t, you can still fit your yoga in to your day using time and cost effective DVDs, books and internet videos. Scheduling a few minutes every day rather than 60 minutes once a week provides more consistency and of course the creation of a new habit. If you do attend in person classes, in an effort to save time and money bring that practice home. Choose a few poses that make you feel great and practice on your own time.
Myth: I don’t look like everyone else in class, so I can’t do it.
Truth: Do you want to? Then you wouldn’t be you. Besides, genetics doesn’t allow us to all look the same. The beauty of yoga is you get to start where you are and build from there. It is after all, a practice. The person to your right might touch her toes with no problem, yet handstand is something she struggles with. The person to your left might have the opposite problem. It’s not how you look in a pose that matters. If you feel the stretch, your mind is calm and your breathing is steady, then you are exactly where you are supposed to be. If you feel pain, your breath has intensified and your mind is telling you to get the heck out of the posture, then you need to back off. The bottom line, yoga is not about how you look, but rather how you feel.
Myth: I’m not religious, a vegetarian or a woman.
Truth: Yoga does not discriminate. There is a style of yoga for every body and age, race, gender, physical ability and religion do not make difference. Sure they are spiritual practices, but they are not religious practices. These practices provide the practitioner with an opportunity to see the best in his or herself. Seek out a local instructor or studio to learn more about what is right for your body, style and experience level.
Stacey Shipman is a speaker, author and yoga instructor who helps women experience less stress and more success personally and professionally. A yoga enthusiast herself, she is passionate about sharing the benefits of the practice in a way that is practical and attainable. To learn more about Stacey visit www.staceyshipman.com or send her an email