Before we get into the basics of yoga in the next post, let’s start with some of the misconceptions about yoga.
“Yoga is for skinny, pretty people.”
Ok, this I know for a fact is not true. I mean, have you even seen the amazing videos on youtube of fabulous overweight people who have used yoga as a means of weight loss and healing? I highly recommend checking out Jessamyn Stanley, who is a bad-ass babe and much more limber than I have been in 25 years! She is awesome and oh so inspiring! If you really want to be inspired, search for Arthur Boorman’s video of his incredible transformation. Arthur is a disabled vet who was obese and lost 140 pounds while doing yoga and eating a healthy diet. His story is absolutely freaking awesome and definitely shouldn’t be missed!
“I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.”
Oh my gosh! Really? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this one! One of the benefits of yoga is to BECOME more flexible! Think of it this way, when you decide to run a marathon, can you just go out and do it? If you want to become a ski jumper, can you just go out and conquer the jump on your first try? The answer to both is most likely NO! Each takes practice. You travel from point A to point Z, you don’t just appear at point Z, right? Well, yoga leads you from where you are to where you want to go. Flexibility will come in time. Of course, the more time you dedicate to yoga, the more flexible you will become, and probably in a shorter amount of time. The point of yoga is not to become a human pretzel, though, but quite often that IS one of the benefits. Your joints will love you, too!
“I have to look good to go to a yoga class.”
The fact is, this simply is not true. Sure, there are people out there who shop at the best stores, and often they look pretty cute in their fabulous yoga pants and sports bras, but expensive yoga pants are NOT required attire! I’m not going to lie, though, a good pair of yoga pants is pretty comfortable and makes it easy to move through the poses. However, a pair of sweat pants or shorts and a tank top or tee shirt will work just as well! Just wear whatever you feel comfortable in and whatever will allow you to move freely.
“Yoga is a religious thing.”
Again, this is just not true. Yoga is becoming more and more widely accepted as a form of stress relief and a modality for self-healing. The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to link. It is a vehicle or tool for linking our spiritual self to our physical self. Put VERY simply, there is an emphasis on mindfulness and simply being able to let go and just BE. Yoga is a tool for healing that has been used for thousands of years, and does not belong to any one religion or group. Yoga is not just poses, it can be many things. It can even be as simple as living a life of truth and freedom.
The poses (asanas) are a method of helping to achieve the wellness that our body, mind and spirit desires. Asanas combined with proper, mindful breathing empower the body, mind and spirit to heal in ways that are needed. There is SO much more to yoga than just poses and breathing, but these are the things most often associated with yoga as we know it today.If you decide to pursue a yoga practice and want to learn more about its benefits, you may be interested to know that there are specific poses for each Chakra in the body, and that just scratches the surface of the healing possibilities of yoga! If you are interested in learning more deeply about the history, purpose, and components of yoga, I highly recommend reading The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar. I think you may find it to be fascinating.
“I don’t have any balance, so I can’t do yoga.”
Yoga can and will create balance. There are many modifications that can be done to help ease your worries about balance until you are able to do the poses on your own. In fact, beginners often use props, chairs and walls to help them achieve proper form while working on balancing poses without the worry of falling over. All you really need is a chair to hold on to and you are all set!
“I’m not in good enough shape to do yoga.”
You don’t need to be in good shape. A yoga practice may be just what you need! There are MANY forms of yoga ranging from hot to restorative to the increasingly popular Core Power yoga workout.
“Yoga isn’t a good workout.”
Well, it really isn’t meant to be a workout, but have you tried doing the Sun Salutation to an upbeat tune? It really can be a kick- butt flow!
Try it! You’ll like it!
Obviously, I have just scratched the surface of this thing called Yoga, but hopefully I’ve given you a new way to think about it. I am hopeful that you will check in on the next edition of my blog to learn more! Of course, as with any new exercise program, please be sure to consult your doctor before beginning!