This stereotype is probably shaped by shows seen on TV with professional Indian yogis demonstrating the wonders of flexibility and strength. Remember: yoga is not a competition, there are no strengths or weaknesses, winners, or losers. So it is good, that it can give a lot, regardless of the level of physical fitness.
Don’t let stereotypes get in the way of your new beginnings.
Why do you need yoga at all, you ask? Well, this question has already been answered by the founder of the largest yoga school B.S.K. Iyengar: ” Someone, at least, will be able to tie their own shoelaces at the age of eighty, and someone will comprehend the mystery of life .”
Myth number 1. Yoga is a sect.
A sect (from Lat. “I follow”) is a type of religious organization opposed to the traditionally dominant creed, opposes itself to the system of generally accepted religious and secular norms, and functions as a counterculture.
People who practice yoga become more positive, cheerful, good-natured, and purposeful, there is a feeling of inner freedom and a feeling of unity with the whole world. Yoga is not “opposed to generally accepted norms”, it is a supplement that helps a person to be more effectively realized in society, family, “find himself.”
Myth number 2. Yoga is a religion.
Yoga is not a religious, but a spiritual system, or a system of spiritual self-improvement. Yoga is practiced by Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists. Yoga does not impose and does not require any religious ideas or preferences, on the contrary, it leads to clarity of mind, makes a person think, analyze his actions and intentions, question the imposed views, and study. At its core, yoga is closer to science, rather than religion, since yoga was created by ancient sages (rishis) who, through research, trial, error, and observation, developed and systematized exercises that help a person improve his body and mind, grow spiritually and become more harmonious and balanced.
Myth number 3. Yoga requires vegetarianism.
Yoga imposes nothing and does not require anything from the practitioner. There are some recommendations (including those on nutrition) that can help speed up progress in the practice and increase its effectiveness. It is recommended to exclude opiates, intoxicants, and intoxicants, since they lower awareness, dull the personality and take up a huge amount of energy, instead of activity, apathy and depression appear, which is contrary to the essence of yoga. Yoga practice leads to mental clarity and energy. Nevertheless, a person who practices yoga can eat meat or refuse it, but not by violence against himself and willful effort, but simply by listening to the needs of his body.
Myth number 4. Yoga is stretching.
Yoga classes are sets of exercises aimed at strengthening and relaxing the body, gaining physical harmony. It has been scientifically proven that the easiest and most effective way to relax a tense muscle is to stretch it, so yoga includes stretching complexes for the legs and hip joints, but in this case, the purpose of the exercises is not the stretching itself, but muscle relaxation and work with breathing and attention.
Myth number 5. Yogis put their legs behind their heads and sleep on nails, boil the blood and stop the heart.
Yoga really allows a person to gain a certain control over the body – to better feel and understand their body, to anticipate disturbances in internal balance, and to be aware of their needs. But it takes many years of very hard training to gain complete control over the body.
Myth number 6. Yoga involves leaving society.
Yoga does not support leaving society or running away from problems. Proper yoga practice gives a huge amount of energy that can be invested in any business, and especially in your development and realization. Most yoga practitioners are successful, socially accomplished people with happy families. Yoga is happiness, pleasure in life, which often includes an active social activity.
Myth number 7. Yoga promotes weight loss.
Slowing down your metabolism means that yoga, on the other hand, promotes weight gain. In general, it is impossible to lose weight without burning calories intensively. But with yoga, calorie consumption is so negligible that it is difficult to count for weight loss. And the legendary thinness of real yogis, such as they paint in the pictures, is the result of many years of a restricted diet.
Myth number 8. Yoga is completely safe. Even babies can do it.
Yoga can be very dangerous. For example, says William Broad, author of The Science of Yoga and a journalist for The Times: “Yoga is just a tool. Any tool, if used incorrectly, can break something. Yoga can produce a whole wave of trauma and negative consequences … In general, both the risks and advantages of yoga many times exceeded my expectations. ” The so-called “hot yoga” is especially dangerous when yoga classes take place in conditions of high temperature and humidity.
Myth number 9. Yoga is for women only.
The truth is that all people, not just women, are in search of inner harmony and tranquility, want to avoid illness, and live happily ever after maintaining health. Yoga offers something for anyone interested in physical, mental, or spiritual development, and is not a women-only or men-only discipline. Many men (including athletes) practice yoga regularly and they have found it to offer great benefits from all walks of life.
Myth number 10. Yoga gives fantastic abilities.
These myths include beliefs like: “All people who have been practicing yoga for many years look young”, “All people who practice yoga are long-lived and never get sick”, “If you practice yoga, you will definitely achieve spiritual enlightenment.” These myths are dispelled as yoga practice matures. What may be true for one person is not necessarily true for another. Yoga is not a panacea for all diseases, it does not increase the life expectancy by two or three times for every practitioner, not every yoga practitioner will become an enlightened sage. The practice of yoga gives a new level of self-awareness, helps to calm the mind, stay intensely in the present moment, learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant, and the good from the pleasant. This is not something supernatural and at the same time allows you to feel a new quality of Life. Strengthening and maintaining health, maintaining good physical shape, good looks, beautiful speech, calm mind – far from all the fruits that a competent yoga practice can bring!
Myth # 11. To be successful in yoga, you need to practice from childhood.
It is very good when a child joins yoga from an early age and lays a powerful foundation for a healthy body and a strong psyche for the future. This is really wonderful, and we should all make efforts in this direction. However, history is replete with facts when people began to practice either in old age or as a result of significant injuries and deviations in the body and reached the heights of mastery.
To illustrate, I would like to give the example of the Belgian queen, who undertook to teach the art of yoga B.K.S. Iyengar. We all know that nowadays the fashion for yoga has spread widely among the “elite of society” and this fact would not be so unique if it were not for one BUT. At the time of the beginning of training, the queen turned 84 years old! As a result of training, she was able to fulfill her goal – to stand in shirshasana (headstand).
Myth number 12. With our rhythm of life, it will not be possible to fully practice yoga.
Of course, most of us, due to family responsibilities and social life, do not have time to devote three hours of asana practice, a couple of hours of pranayama, and a few more hours of meditation, but THIS is NOT NECESSARY. Yoga is efficient in any action. Yoga should serve our life and not vice versa. Many do not understand this point and make a cult out of yoga, in which they make themselves believe and “tighten” others. The practice of yoga is the impeccable performance of one’s duties, according to the level of evolutionary development. And here, you must agree, any form of activity is suitable. It’s over, immersion in the practice of working with the body takes a significant place. And many yoga systems, adapted to our frantic pace of life, our mentality, and our structure of the musculoskeletal system, can help with this.
Myth number 13. Yoga practitioners become inadequate.
Yes, a person who regularly practices yoga really at a certain stage of development becomes “not like everyone else”. But this individual feature does not appear as a result of any negative deviations, but due to the disclosure of his own individual potential of the body, mind, and psyche. It is already quite difficult to “convince” such a person from the TV screen that the standard of health is cola and hamburgers, the standard of prestige is expensive things, and the standard of intelligence is “high-quality and expensive” education.
Myth number 14. Anyone can teach yoga.
To teach yoga, it is not enough just to be flexible and to practice yoga yourself.
In order to become a yoga teacher, you need to take a special course and practice yoga for several years, reinforcing it with spiritual growth and meditation.