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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 August 29, 2019

How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

Having a weight loss plateau is perfectly normal. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though, and it feels like all your hard work has ground to a halt.

Instead of seeing a weight loss plateau as a roadblock, you need to see them as speed bumps that may get in the way from time to time but, can still be navigated.

This article will look at what causes these plateaus and how you can get through them the next time they may strike.

What Is a Weight Loss Plateau?

The basics of this plateau are that weight loss or fat loss has stalled after a period of progression. But what is the real reason this has happened and why does it occur when it does? Weight loss, or fat loss, has seemed to stall and the first thing to do is to recognize if this is a plateau.

If you weigh yourself daily, you know that there are fluctuations that occur each day. If you are weighing yourself every day, you want to at least be consistent with it. Your true weight will be first thing in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom. You want to weigh yourself at the same time and also make sure your scale is calibrated properly. Even a floor that is not perfectly even can give you an inaccurate reading.

It’s important to do this first thing as your weight can fluctuate just over one day, with people often seeing variations of 3-5 pounds. Since there are these daily changes, you want to take a different approach and look at your weekly averages week after week. This will give you a better snapshot at your progress and if you’ve actually reached a plateau or not.

True weight loss happens over weeks and months and that’s why tracking is important. You should see a gradual decrease over this longer time period. Healthy and sustained weight loss will be around 1-2 pounds per week. It’s a linear path that will have small up and down spikes over the time period but should still move progressively downward.

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When you see that the weight isn’t gradually dropping the way it had been over the past weeks and months, that can be your sign you’ve hit a true weight loss plateau.

The Issues with the Scale

A scale gives you some data but doesn’t always show the whole picture. You will not get an idea of true body composition as a regular scale will not show a balance between lean muscle and body fat. You may have lost 5 pounds of body fat, but gained 5 pounds of muscle and the number on the scale would stay the same. That body compositional change, however, would show some great physical results.

The body fat loss would help you appear leaner and the lean muscle gain would also enhance your overall appearance. You could look significantly different while the number on the scale hasn’t changed.

The scale is also not going to reveal issues surrounding water retention or bloating along with the hormonal fluctuations that can cause these issues. You can still check the scale, but a better indicator of weight loss will be with a tape measure.

When you’ve lost body fat, you will notice your clothes fitting differently and tracking your body part measurements can be a great way to monitor results. If you are going the tape measure route, measure these main areas:

  • Hips
  • Right thigh – at the midrange point
  • Waist – just below your ribcage and above your belly button
  • Chest – measure under the armpits
  • Right bicep – unflexed
  • Right calf
  • Neck

You can take measurements on your right and left appendages, but this is a good base of measurement to track progress.

Why Is Your Weight Not Going Down?

This may be because you are doing too much and not getting enough calories at the same time. If you are overdoing it in the gym, it can be like taking a few steps backward. Your workouts shouldn’t be over 75 minutes (30-40 may be all you need) and you want some rest days throughout the week. If you’re working out every day and exhausting yourself, your body will go into that self-preservation mode, raising stress hormones and, again, making weight loss difficult.

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If you are involved in an adequate exercise program (3-4 days per week) and going for a reasonable amount of time, you may need to add in a little more physical activity if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau. This doesn’t have to be overly intense but some extra cardio may help. This can be another 5-10 minutes on to what you are normally doing, or one or two 20-minute walks added on to your weekly amount.

You also want to make sure you’re eating enough and getting into a bit of a calorie deficit[1] if weight loss has stalled. You need not count every calorie but it’s a good idea to take a few days to track your nutrition intake so you at least have a good idea where you’re at.

Many people do not understand how many calories they are taking in each day. Calorie counting is far from a perfect science but to get a rough ballpark figure, the average woman needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain. An average man will need around 2500 calories.[2] There are many factors that can alter this requirement but this is a good starting point.

If you’re not losing weight, you’ll want to reduce that amount by around 300 calories each day and see how this is going after a week or so. If there has been no change, you might need to drop another 200 calories. You don’t want this to go lower as not enough calories can have a negative effect on your metabolism and will lead to stalled weight loss.

Is 1000 Calories a Day Too Little?

In a word? Yes. Your body needs more than that just to carry out its basic functions of living – and that’s not including you getting up and moving around. Even if you were just to lie on the couch all day, your body will need at least 1200 to 1400 calories just to exist. If you are not giving your body sufficient calories, it goes into panic mode. Your metabolism will drop as your body needs to hold on to every precious calorie to sustain itself. When this happens you can kiss weight loss goodbye. The other problem is eventually you will snap because you are so hungry and will eat everything in sight.

When you flood calories into a body with a slowed metabolism, you can guess what they end up being stored as.

Keeping yourself fed with high-quality, and nutritious foods will allow your body to run optimally and provide you with energy to be active, burn body fat, and bust through those weight loss plateaus.

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What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

This is where it’s important to take a step back and have a look at what’s been going on in your life. Tracking your info can be helpful because it gives you some data to observe. You don’t have to be obsessive about it but recording your workouts, sleep, stress levels and understanding your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and basic metabolic rate (BMR) will help give you an indicator where the problems may arise.

If you’ve noticed you’ve been overly stressed with work and life lately, this may be the culprit. When your body experiences stress, it elevates stress hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol is constantly elevated, it can slow weight loss to a crawl. Stress hormones are released in the body as a way to preserve itself. The body will be more likely to hold on to body fat as it believes some sort of trauma is happening and it needs all the backup fuel it can get. At this point, your body is not interested in burning body fat, or building muscle – it’s interested in preserving things.

Higher stress may also lead to a lack of sleep which causes the same issues, and when you add these two together, they compound their negative effects. If you’re seeing this to be the case, it means you will have to slow things down a bit. Make getting extra sleep a priority and you may have to back off the workouts for a bit. Even better, taking some time off from the gym can be a great way to let your whole body, central nervous system, and immune system recover.

This could be a good time to focus on relaxing, meditation, or yoga. You also want to make sure you’re keeping your diet as clean as possible as eating things like refined sugar and carbs when stressed can easily lead to weight gain.

Listen to your body and give it a breather when needed. Doing this will allow it to come back stronger than before.

How to Get Past a Weight Loss Plateau

When you hit a plateau, it’s a sign that your body is becoming complacent. There is no longer enough stimulation to warrant a response from your body. If you remember back to high school biology, you’ll recall homeostasis. This is a state of balance and it’s the preferred state your body wants to be in. Your body is all about self-preservation and keeping things stable. This is an evolutionary response to conserve energy for those times when it may be more needed.

Your body will learn to do things as efficiently as possible and therefore, you will progress with weight loss, and muscle and strength gains for a while – but then it hits a wall. Your body has figured out how to efficiently manage what you’re throwing at it, and this means it’s time to switch things up.

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For workouts, you want to always keep your body guessing. The best workout is the one you haven’t done yet. Your body needs an ever-changing stimulus in order to get more results. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a drastic overhaul. If you’re exercising, you just want to make changes to your routine, exercise order, duration, or repetitions. At the very least, you want to do at least what you did last workout – plus a little more. If you ran for 30 minutes, go for 32 next time. If you did 10 repetitions of an exercise, go for 11 or 12.

You can change the order of the exercises you do, perform some cardio before strength training, add in some high-intensity intervals, or shorten your rest periods between sets. The main thing is to give a bit of a shock to your body in order for it to change.

Final Thoughts

Weight loss plateaus will happen, it’s just all about being prepared for when they strike. Getting an understanding of why they happen is important to progress past them. What’s also important is realizing how your body works, and what it needs in order for it to respond favourably to exercise and diet.

A weight-loss plateau can be overcome with changes in activity, addressing lifestyle issues, and keeping the diet as clean as possible. Recognizing when stress has overwhelmed you, sleep is being neglected, and you need a break will go a long way in helping combat weight loss plateaus.

You also need to be aware of consuming enough calories per day and the issues that come from not nourishing your body properly. Healthy weight loss is all about combining exercise, diet, rest, recovery, and an overall holistic approach for it to happen.

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Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

Reference

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