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  • Writer's picturealliemacs

Top 5 Yoga Myths

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

When people hear I am a yoga instructor, I hear many responses like "I can't do yoga", "I'm not flexible", or "Yea - I need to stretch more". Myth. Myth. Myth. The first two make me so sad because these people are missing out based on a silly misconception. Anyone can do yoga. And dare I say it, but YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE! Truth - not every type of yoga is for everyone. But there is a type of yoga for everyone. (I'll save types of yoga for another post).

Let's explore the general misconception. What is the "yoga" we see most often? My bet is that it's fancy photos of people bending their bodies in ways that look uncomfortable and unattainable. Amiright? You know the one's I'm referring to. But guess what - to those people...slow clap. Good for them. I think it's awesome that people are doing what works for their bodies. Respect. What's unfortunate, is that those images are what people think yoga is, and quite frankly that's not what yoga is for the general population. To me - yoga is taking care of your body and giving it what it needs. This is ever-changing! So what yoga is for me today may not be what yoga is for me tomorrow, next week, and it most certainly will not be the same in 20 or 50 years.

Let's dive into these myths...

MYTH #1: I can't do yoga

Do you have a body? Do you have muscles and bones in your body? Are you flexible? Are you tight? Are you immobile? Are you hypermobile? Are you old? Are you young? CONGRATULATIONS! You can practice yoga. Do you have a mind? Do you get stressed out at times? Do you have health problems that could be related to stress? Do you have lungs? Can you breathe? CONGRATULATIONS! You can benefit from yoga. Unfortunately not all group settings are set up for every individual, but yoga doesn't have to be coming to a class. I'm telling you, no matter what your experience is, you can practice yoga - at the level that is right for you. A person who was missing an arm or a leg or all four limbs could practice yoga in some capacity.

MYTH #2 Yoga is for flexible people

This is the BIGGEST lie. In my opinion the majority of people I've come across in life are not flexible by nature. And the truth is, as we get older we get stiffer in our lower bodies. So I'd beg to differ and say that yoga is just as much or even more beneficial for stiffer/tighter people (I'm one of those by nature by the way!). In a beginner yoga class, the poses are basic, and if you have a good instructor, they will give modifications for the pose to make it easier and variations to make it harder. Beginning level yoga classes are really great for most people. (Some people with specific injuries may be better off with private sessions before coming to a group class). Don't be afraid of yoga - it's not about crazy poses. It's about building strength AND flexibility based on your own body and what it is capable of. It's not about looking like anyone else - it's about doing what's right for your body.

MYTH #3 Yoga is about stretching

True BUT yoga is equally about building strength and stability. (If you don't believe this then come to a class and stay in a Warrior 2 for 8 breath cycles.) Being strong is just as important as being flexible. And guess what? Most yoga injuries come from people who are hyper mobile or stretching beyond their limits. Lots of times these are yogis who have practiced for years and want to keep going further and deeper in poses...well, there's only so far someone can go in a pose. What could help those people is more strength and knowing and respecting their bodies and limits.

MYTH #4 Yoga is it's own religion

Being a Christian and living in a small Christian town, I've heard this a few times. Yoga absolutely has spiritual aspects to it, but in my opinion, they can be woven into whatever religion you associate with (as long as that religion is based on being a better person). And depending what class you went to and your teachers, you may hear some of the spiritual teachings of yoga woven into a class. To me, these are no different that the 10 commandments or any other advice on how to be a good human being. Meditation freaks some people out. Think of meditation of quiet time and breathing - or you can even pray in meditation. Pretty sure Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness probably contained some meditation, whether you want to call it that or something else.

Lie #5 I don't have time to go to a yoga class or I don't want to

I say it all the time in my classes but yoga doesn't have to be coming to an hour long class! Yoga is doing what you gotta do - for your body. Yoga can be rolling your shoulders back at your desk, stretching your neck in the car on the way to pick up your kids, doing a few twists while you're watching TV, or sitting in Childs Pose for 5 minutes at home. What does your body need today? Where you sitting all day hunched over? How about a few chest openers tonight. Where you walking around all day? How about some forward folds to release the tension in your legs. Have you been super go go go and stressed out? Maybe some time sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing could do you some good.

It's just about taking care of yourself. Isn't that great news? People often ask what my biggest takeaway from Yoga Teacher Training was and that is it. Take care of yourself. Because if you don't, your body will send signals, and if you don't listen to those signals - your body will take care of itself and it'll come out in sickness, stress, or disease. Let's all just not get to that point.

Peace XO,


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