Yoga, a practice originated in India, is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means “to join.” Yoga unites mind, body, and spirit.
In 2014, June 21st was declared as the International Day of Yoga after getting approval from all 193 United Nations members.
Yoga gives importance to self-awareness. In today’s hectic scenario, people look out for external remedies. The teaching of yoga addresses the importance of inner strength. It not only improves the physical health and mental well-being of individuals, but it also prepares the same group in broadening their vision by building a sustainable and peaceful road map for the nation.
With the growing popularity of yoga, a number of myths are prevalent in the society. Let us fracture them to understand the essence of this 5000-year-old practice.
Here are 10 myths associated with yoga:
1. Your body must be flexible
How does it feel when you see your friends posting their handstands and single-arm balancing pictures on their social profiles? Though a mountain or picturesque beach background may spoil your mood and confidence, you must know it takes quality time to attain such balance.
Everyone comes with a different body shape. Most beginners back out because they fear what people will think about their body type. Their rigid bodies force them to accept their incapability.
Beginners must start with light exercises. With time, the body allows different postures.
2. Yoga is only for young people
Yoga is one of the health practices where grandparents can reap the benefits along with their grandchildren. Jean Dawson, attended her first yoga class at 67. She recently enjoyed her 100th birthday this past February.
In an interview with Metro UK, Jean said, “I don’t know how I would be today if I hadn’t taken up Iyengar Yoga. It has given me good posture, balance, concentration, flexibility, and stamina,”
Jean also cured her slip disc problem. For those who consider age as a huge barrier, get ready to change this mindset. A few years back, Jean could do all the handstands. Period.
3. Yoga is too time-consuming when you have a busy schedule
Time is not an issue. Your willpower to include yoga in your daily schedule depends on whether you are choosing a “Waste” or “Utilize” mentality.
A person with the “Waste” mentality thinks about sacrificing their precious time with the yogic practice. Their short-sighted attitude drags them to the same unproductive regime. Meanwhile, a person with the “Utilize” mentality thinks about utilizing the time by incorporating this discipline in their daily routine. They suppress their inner resistance to reap the long-term benefits.
According to University of Illinois research, a 20-minute yogic session helped participants process informational quickly when compared to the participants who were told to walk or jog on a treadmill for 20 minutes instead.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time. As you begin to get into the groove, you’ll find an inner desire to expand the practice.
4. I don’t want to change my lifestyle
Yoga doesn’t come with a “must” tagline. It is advisable to avoid junk food and adopt a vegan diet, but it doesn’t mean you “must” be vegan to follow yoga.
If you think you have to detach yourself from the material world to experience the joy of yoga, you are completely wrong. Yoga aims at improving your lifestyle. It might change the way you tackle your personal issues or how you frame opinions about others. The final decision to accept these changes remains in your hands.
5. I’ll follow my trainer religiously
There is no harm in following the guidelines provided by your instructor, but you must know your limitations.
Trainers look elegant while performing a pose. Students overstretch themselves to get the same charm.
As Rome wasn’t built in a single day, you can’t build a flexible body in a single day. When your body signals you to stop, respect it and get some rest. Don’t try to copy your trainer.
6. Yoga causes pain
Beginners feel pain during the initial stretch-outs. Don’t confuse this sweet pain with the pain caused by exertion.
Sometimes, the problem is not the asana (yogic pose), but the people who are performing them. They experience pain because there is something wrong with the alignment of their body.
Some poses require hard work. Before quitting, discuss the issue with your mentor. They will help you in differentiating the pain type.
7. I already know it all from reading books
Books can be a great source for understanding various goals and schools of yoga; however, practical skills always overshadow theoretical knowledge.
People unintentionally spread their bookish expertise with their friends and relatives. They are always eager to share their piece of advice. They try to pose as an expert by listing out different techniques for overcoming a particular pain. Before spreading your knowledge, become an example first.
When people start seeing positive changes in you, they will automatically seek your advice. Instead of quoting information by referencing the book title and author, share your personal experiences.
8. I already go to the gym, so why should I practice yoga?
Preferring one practice over another is difficult, but you can’t achieve the benefits of yoga by only going to the gym.
Yoga keeps a strict check on your emotions. It calms down your fickle mind. The practitioner attains the body-mind balance to help unfold the limitless potential of the human mind.
By minimizing the mental stress, yoga also blocks the path of several diseases.
Most importantly, yoga brings more clarity by aligning thoughts with actions.
9. Hot Yoga will help in weight loss
Bikram yoga, popularly known as Hot Yoga, claims to burn 1000 calories in a single 90-minute session conducted in a room heated to around 104 degrees.
Dr. Brian L. Tracy, an exercises scientist at Colorado State University, conducted two experiments with his team to find the correlation between Hot Yoga and weight loss. Increasing heart rate and rise in core temperature gave results equivalent to calories burned during brisk walking. The big claims didn’t even stand in front of an average burn rate of 460 calories for men, and 330 calories for women.
Ideally, yoga is not designed for profuse sweating. If you want to lose weight, perform cardio exercises.
10. The best time to practice yoga is either morning or night
If you have attended yoga classes, you must have heard this kind of statement from your trainer. They are not wrong because the best time to practice yoga is in the morning before the breakfast or in the early evening, around sunset.
Then, why is this a myth?
Real yoga goes beyond stretching and breathing exercises. In a yogic session, you train your body to attain a peace of mind; however, the true test comes when you apply that training in achieving work-life harmony.
You must practice the art of yoga for the whole day, be it in your workplace or at home.