4 Myths About Yoga

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4 Myths about Yoga

The inside scoop on common yoga myths.

Curious to learn more about yoga? Hopefully so – since you’re on a yoga studio website – thanks for checking it out, by the way!

As I prepare to open The Yoga Zen in November – I wanted to give you some inside scoop about a few common myths related to yoga.

Myth #1: Only Women do Yoga

Admittedly, men, you will most likely be outnumbered in yoga.  Women definitely make up the majority of practitioners (in 2016, over 70%) but, it’s also true that men are one of the fastest growing groups of yogis; the number of male practitioners in the US more than doubled from 4 million to 10 million between 2012 – 2016 so you’ll probably get a chance to wordlessly nod to another smart dude or two the next time you’re in class. 

We’re also seeing more and more different types of people practice yoga.  For example, the fastest growing group of yogis are those over 55 – they nearly quadrupled from 4 million to 14 million from 2012 – 2016.  No longer is this practice for young, able, white, women (says a woman who, admittedly, is the definition of that stereotype) but all sorts of people outside of that limited group are finding the benefits of yoga now that it’s become more mainstream. 

Myth #2: You Have to be Flexible to do Yoga

No, you don’t have to be flexible to start yoga. Yoga might be easier if you’re flexible – but who ever wanted to take the easy way out, right? If you practice yoga regularly, you will get (more) flexible over time.

This myth also gets straight to the heart of the biggest misconception about yoga – that it’s all about doing weird, pretzel-type things with your body.  I’ve said before in class that we could sit for the entire time and focus on our breath and that would be just as much of a “yoga” class – and much more difficult!

Yoga is about union of body and mind. Yoga is a Sanskrit word that translates as “union”.  The pretzel poses definitely have a role – they’re difficult, transformative, and impactful just on their own – but when they’re used in connection with meditation they can be life changing. The poses’ purpose is to prepare the mind for stillness in the last few minutes of class, known as savasana.  And, as any yoga practitioner knows, mental stillness is easier said than done – hence the tricky pretzel stuff to keep your mind super occupied and to tire your body out enough that savasana will feel more like a relief rather than a total challenge.  And just remember– pretzels come in lots of shapes – including the easily imitated stick!

Myth #3: Yoga is Expensive

This myth has some element of truth because yoga CAN be expensive depending on what kind of accessories you purchase. what kind of yoga clothes you wear, and where you practice yoga.  (Have you met YouTube, yogis?) Yoga doesn’t HAVE to be expensive, though. 

At The Yoga Zen we’ll have all the props you’ll need, including mats, to borrow at no cost.  We’ve also tried to create lots of different pricing options to meet different budgets as well as offer additional discounts to groups like school teachers (let’s be real, I think our teachers need more Zen than anything else…and we don’t pay them enough…hence the discount) as well as students, seniors 60+, and our military and veterans.

Not to mention we’ll offer deep discounts if you’ve been a client of Yoga Plus within the last 2 years and – if you haven’t – take a class there before the end of October and you’ll be eligible!

Myth #4: Yoga is a Religion

Yoga is not a religion, it’s technically a type of philosophy, but I think the hang up here is that yoga can be a spiritual practice for some and since spirituality is the basis for all religions, people confuse yogic philosophy for religious direction.  But just because yoga might be a spiritual practice for some people doesn’t mean that it conflicts with someone’s faith – people of all faiths practice yoga and many find that it deepens their own spiritual beliefs.

I hope you continue to learn more about yoga – either at The Yoga Zen or elsewhere – I think you, your body, and your mind will be glad you do!

Shanti (peace) -