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10 Myths of Yoga Fractured – Last Myth Will Change the Way You Think

10 Myths of Yoga Fractured – Last Myth Will Change the Way You Think

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Yatin Khulbe

Positivity Advocate

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Published on March 8, 2019

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

Think about your current workouts:

If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

    Meet Strong Stan

    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

    Meet Flexible Fiona

    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

      Final Thoughts

      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

      Reference

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