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Top 5 Yoga Misconceptions

Top 5 Misconceptions About Yoga.

Having taught and practiced yoga for over a decade, there seems to be a consistent handful of misconceptions about what it means to be a yogi - usually from the perspective of folks who may not have had the pleasure of taking a class (yet).

5. Yoga is a religion

Even way back in the day, yoga was not a religion in and of itself. The 8 limb path, which is detailed in the ancient text, The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, is in essence a template to guide the practitioner to a deeper sense of peace and greater consciousness (um, yes please). These days, most modern yogis approach their practice as a very physical experience. Of course, even if you’re showing up simply to move your body, there is always an opportunity to experience the philosophy and deeper components of yoga that are designed to promote mindfulness and connection. Regardless of your belief system, yoga works in tandem with your higher purpose.

4. Yoga is easy stretching

There are endless possibilities for yoga class styles. I have practiced vigorously in heated rooms for 90 minutes, and I have sat in silence with only my breath to focus on for hours on end. I have held single postures for over 8 minutes, and I have taken fast paced one-breath-per-movement classes. One thing is for certain, not one of these styles of practice was necessarily “easy.” The intent of yoga isn’t simply to stretch, and it’s not intended to be easy peasy. Restorative and rejuvenating, yes. Easy, not so much. A consistent practice will challenge you both physically and mentally. It will build strength and flexibility. And this is where true growth begins.

3. You have to be flexible to take yoga

If I had a nickel for every time somebody told me they didn’t come to class because they weren’t flexible enough… I once heard another teacher say, “that’s like saying I’m too dirty, so I can’t take a shower.” The truth is, we’re all a bit inflexible - either in our bodies, or in our minds. Most often, a little of both. But this is the very reason we show up. Perhaps you’ll never be the person who can touch your toes without bending your knees. But that doesn’t mean you don’t show up at all! We chip away at our inflexibilities over time, and it makes a huge difference.

2. You need expensive clothing and equipment

It can be fun to have new gear and wear the latest yoga styles, but it is in no way shape or form a requirement. All you truly need is to show up in a way that makes you feel comfortable, with a simple mat, your open mind, and some form of hydration. The most impressive and beautiful thing you bring to the studio space is yourself.

1. Yoga will change your life.

Oh wait. This isn’t a misconception. Yoga will absolutely change your life for the better. The mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga are palpable - even after a single class. Yoga helps reduce stress, improves posture, builds strength, cultivates patience, peace and positivity. Regardless of your age, weight, background, or athletic ability… yoga will shift your perspective in the most fantastic of ways.

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