At some time, we’ve all had some preconceived notions about yoga, and it’s time to get them out in the open and explore them. I’ve been practicing yoga for years but I have to admit that I was also guilty of having some ideas about yoga that weren’t true. It wasn’t until I tried yoga and got involved in the regular practice of it that I realized that they were, after all, only ideas and not very good ones at that!
1. Yoga is for the flower power hippie gang. Sure, yoga turned up at the same time as the hippies did in the 1970s. Somehow this has managed to colour its reputation – but times have changed. People aren’t wearing the same outfits as they did back then for a start. You’re just as likely to find upper tier athletes doing it as you will a hippy. For example Andy Murray (the tennis star), Kelly Slater (the surfer) and LeBron James (one of America’s top basketball players) all stretch out on the yoga mat as part of their fitness training programs.
2. Yoga is for females. After 6000 years of yoga being a major part of the ashrams (a men only tradition), women are new to yoga. They’ve only really been involved for the last 60 years, since it arrived in North America. Yes, you’ll find some women doing it, but many of the influencers are men – for example, Bikram Choudhury.
3. Yoga is some sort of a religion. Sorry, but that’s just not true. Yes, there were some religions involved when it started out (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) but it’s not about faith. It’s about providing a better balance in life, through the toning of the body and mind.
4. Yoga is way too easy. If you’re thinking this, then you’ve never taken a class. The first class I went to even put me off going again for a bit. I was expecting a slow moving stretching program, but the class that I went to was fast and made me feel dizzy. There are a variety of classes to choose from, so you can go slow or you can take the faster route, but it’s not necessarily easy. Some of the poses are very challenging.
5. Yoga is only for the young and the flexible. Touching on my last point there are over 100 different types of yoga. Each of these can be suited to different levels of fitness. Modern yogi gurus have adapted yoga exercises so that it meets with the Western lifestyle. It’s now possible to bend and stretch into different poses using equipment and knowledge.
You will only benefit from increasing flexibility, strength and a positive mind-set. If you want to get start in yoga, but don’t know what to do, then there are several courses of action that you can take. You could either get started at a local gym or yoga studio, or alternatively use a DVD for home use. You’ll be surprised what yoga can do for you.