Ten yoga myths to dispel

Now that winter is over it is time to come out of hibernation and get back into our bodies. And as we are emerging into the light, I thought this would be a good time to dispel some myths about yoga, so we can remove all excuses off the "why I can't start going to yoga" list.

Myth 1 Yoga is a "hippy" thing

This is blatantly not true - go to any yoga class and I doubt it will have a 1960's Woodstock feel! 

Myth 2 Yoga is a girlie thing

Quite a number of men feel this way, and I find this surprising. Yes, an average yoga class is likely to have a majority of women, but let's not forget where yoga came from. Over the millenia most of the yogis were men. The yogic scriptures were written by men. Modern yoga - Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Anusara - founded by men. A lot of chefs are men, yet the kitchen has been stereotypically deemed a woman's place. So, gentlemen, grab your mats and get back to your roots!

Myth 3 You need to be a certain weight for yoga

Myth 4 You need to be able-bodied to do yoga

Myth 5 You need to be young to do yoga

Not true, just take a look at the blog banner above. Enough said. Feel inspired!

Myth 6 You must be flexible to start yoga

This is like saying you need to be strong before you lift weights in the gym, or you need to be fast before you can run. I accept that many yoga images on social media would suggest this, but everyone has had to start somewhere. When I started yoga I couldn't bend in any direction, neither forward nor backward. So you need to start moving, then be patient, flexibility will come.

Myth 7 You need to be fit to start yoga

See Myth 6. 

Myth 8 You need to know the yoga philosophy before you get on the mat

This is not true. I think it's fair to say that knowing some of the philosophy will enhance the physical practice, you would probably get more out it having the deeper understanding. But it's not a requirement. I started with asana (posture work) and then got interested in the philosophy. 

Myth 9 Yoga is a religion

Yoga is not a religion, it is a practice. Asana unites mind and body through the breath, which develops a deeper sense of self-awareness. This, in turn, leads to a greater sense of wellbeing.

Myth 10 Yoga is just like any other physical exercise

See Myth 9. If you're not working with the breath, you're not doing yoga! So think again if you are on the mat with your mind on the to-do list/party at the weekend/holiday planning etc.