Yoga has become an integral part of the modern fitness and wellness industry. There are many myths about yoga – and the people who practice it. We clean up with the most common.
What is the first thing you think about when you listen to yoga? No matter what association you have, it is very possible that it is a myth. Much of what people associate with yoga is actually based on prejudice. For example, that only hyper-flexible and slim women can practice yoga. Or that yoga is a super-esoteric practice, for which one has to feed on sprouts and renounce all worldly joy. We took a closer look at the most persistent myths about yoga.
The 5 Biggest Prejudices About Yoga – And Why They’re Not True
1. For yoga you have to be very flexible
Many people think they are not flexible enough to practice yoga. It’s kind of like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower. Because regular yoga practice changes the body and becomes more flexible over time. This is one of the great joys of yoga – to feel how at some point suddenly movements are possible that a few months ago you thought you would never be able to do.
And the second important point on the subject of flexibility: Every body is different. Yoga is not about forcing each person into a certain posture – it is about adapting the asana (physical yoga exercise) so that it is just right for your body. There are also yogis who, after years, still fail to manage certain postures (me for example). And that’s totally okay, because the goal of yoga is not a sporting performance, but the connection of body and mind.
2. Yoga is only for slim, young women
This myth is also about the subject of “physical requirements”. Without wanting to go too far: Yoga originated in India around 2500 years ago – as a spiritual practice for men. Even if it looks different in today’s yoga studios in the West, yoga was originally not intended for women. And how fat or thin you were was not at all in the foreground, because yoga was (and is) above all a spiritual practice.
But that probably doesn’t change the fact that many overweight people don’t necessarily feel comfortable in the yoga class between the super slim, young women. A: e good: e yoga teacher: in manages to make the practice accessible to everyone. He or she shows variations of the exercises so that everyone can do them. Or directly offers his own lessons, which are based on the needs of people with bodies beyond the norm.
3. For yoga you have to be totally calm and relaxed
It’s a bit like being dirty and taking a shower: Yoga is a technique that is (also) about bringing the mind to rest. Stopping the carousel of thought, at least for a moment, is the goal of it all – not the prerequisite.
However, many people are quickly discouraged if, even after a few weeks or months of regular practice, they do not really come to rest during the final relaxation and their thoughts continue to ride happily on the roller coaster. There is a big misunderstanding here. Because it is less about preventing thoughts from arising than about learning to simply observe the thoughts and let them be.
4. Yoga only slows down esoteric fun
Many people believe that all yogi: nis fill their homes with incense and crystals, follow a vegan diet and never touch a sip of alcohol. As with many myths, there is likely a real core here. Because of course there are people who energetically clean their home with the help of incense and healing stones – but nobody has to do it. For many yogi: nis, a vegetarian or vegan diet as well as the conscious consumption of alcohol are also part of it, because they live according to the concept of non-violence, i.e. “Ahimsa”, and / or feel their spiritual practice more intensely. But nobody is judged or “worse” at yoga because they like or dislike certain things.
Yoga is primarily a spiritual practice to bring body, mind and spirit into harmony. There is also a large potpourri of different styles, techniques and teachings. For one: n or the other: n, a more ascetic way of life may work better. Someone who has absolutely nothing to do with incense and chanting mantras can just as easily choose the components of yoga practice that are good for him / her.
5. Yoga is a sport
And here we have the other end of the spectrum. Just as yoga is taught in many studios in the western world, many people see it simply as a work-out. But yoga is definitely more than a sport. In fact, the physical yoga exercises were originally only intended to prepare the body for long periods of sitting during meditation. So the real practice is mental, and the physical part is just another tool to train the mind.
Of course, this does not mean that it is wrong for someone to “only” practice the asanas, i.e. the body exercises. After all, yoga is very good for the back and can prevent many diseases. But you shouldn’t forget where the roots of yoga lie and approach the practice with mindfulness – both for the spiritual and philosophical substructure as well as for your own body and its limits.
Source used: yogaeasy.de