5 Misconceptions about Yoga

5 Misconceptions about Yoga

1. You have to be vegan or vegetarian.

Not all yogis embrace the concept of Ahmisa, the non-harming philosophy by adopting a vegetarian diet. Yoga is about mindfulness. We do our best to be compassionate toward all living things at all times. That said, it is natural for some humans to eat meat. Although the typical Western diet is probably heavier in meat consumption than necessary, yogis also practice non-attachment and non-judgment, different lifestyles work for different people.

2. You have to extremely flexible.

“I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.”

Start where you are. We all have very different bodies and abilities. A regular yoga practice will certainly improve flexibility, but our bendiness is largely governed by genetics. Embrace your abilities rather than gawking at the struggles, and be grateful for the improved mobility that comes with practice.

3. You need to sit and meditate every single day.

Quiet time, clearing the mind and finding stillness are all a part of yoga, yes. That said, meditation can take on many forms. Sometimes it might mean going for a walk in nature, or even certain solo sports like swimming or running can be meditative.

Meditation is about finding a way to sustain awareness.

4. All yogis stand on their heads.

Sure, some yogis can preform all kinds of cool party tricks, but the essence of the practice doesn’t stem from being able to do wacky things with your body. You don’t have to do advanced postures to be a yogi. Simply stretching and breathing with your legs up the wall, or lying on the floor in Bound Angle Pose or Savasana, is just as much yoga as is a tricky arm balance.

5. Yoga is only for skinny, wealthy white women, or the super elite.

Wrong again! Yoga is about COMMUNITY.

Unfortunately in North America, there’s a misconception that only the wealthy practice yoga. This just isn’t true. Sure, studio memberships can be expensive, but there are many ways around this. Online classes from wonderful, highly-skilled teachers can be found online. Many yoga studios offer karma programs and trades. There are also many studios that do exclusively donation-based community classes. Find one that speaks to you!

Source: Yoga Journal

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Marty Betts Yoga  •  Ann Arbor, MI  •  martyart1@comcast.net