Ever thought of doing yoga but just too intimidated by it? From expensive yoga membership and flashy yoga wear to our body image complex and current physical shape – all of which invisibly create this pressure making yoga seem unapproachable. Strangely enough, the reasons we think we can’t do yoga are usually the exact reasons why we should give it a try. You might be the one with resistances or the one trying to convince a loved one to get in on the amazing benefits that yoga offers, but either way, here are 5 common yoga myths and the truth that tells us in fact, yoga is for everyone.
First of all, there is so much more to yoga than flexibility. Yoga isn’t about contorting ourselves into pretzels, but rather about making us stronger, calmer and more grounded. Secondly, being too stiff for yoga is like saying you’re too dirty for a shower. Frankly, your inflexibility is exactly why you should do yoga. If we let this stiffness goes unchecked, it’s only going to get worse as we age. The hunched backs, stiffness in the joints and decreased mobility that we see in older people can all be avoided or reduced with frequent yoga practice.
While that all may seem too far off into the distance to affect you now, inflexibility in the body is directly affecting your mind right now. You might not notice, but afflictions like stress, insomnia, and anxiety can all be relieved by lengthening and strengthening our muscles through yoga.
Yup, we all think things like this – even if none of them are true. That’s called mental affliction, and it has nothing to do with our ability to do yoga or not. The truth is, you don’t have to be a skinny millennial in tight Lululemon pants to do yoga. No one has ever been denied yoga because of their curviness or age. And in fact, if you are a bit overweight, gentle yoga is actually a perfect way to kick start weight loss, as it’s easier on the joints than high impact exercises such as boot camp or Crossfit.
Yoga is also perfect if you have a complex relationship with food. It helps reconnect our body and mind, so we eat to nurture our body rather than using food to suppress our emotions.
As much as it’s a physical exercise, yoga is more so a way to train our mind. Taking one breath at a time, you can explore what your body can and cannot do on the yoga mat at your own pace. Use this time to delve into your mind and see what is blocking you from ‘breaking a sweat.’ Are you unmotivated in your personal or work life, and is that transferring to stagnation in exercising the body? Yoga works to create connections between your mind, body and spirit. This reconnection drastically increases your body awareness and creates energy that you never thought you’d have. As the body slowly awakens and fluids flow through your joints again, it also brings new energy to other areas of your life such as work and relationships. A yoga class after a long period of inactivity can feel like a well-deserved spa or a breath of fresh air and you’ll feel markedly calmer and more energised. Give it a try and experience that returned vitality!
If you want to give yoga a try while on a strict budget, there are ways to yoga on without breaking the bank. Search for yoga classes by donation, or take advantage of the affordable introductory rates that most studios offer. Keep the simple poses in mind to practice at home, knowing that holding a few simple poses for 2-3 minutes will give you the same benefits as a 90-minute class. There are also great online classes or DVDs at low costs which would allow you to practice at home. There are limitless options nowadays making yoga affordable to everyone.
From financial advisors to self-help books, we’re always being told to pay ourselves first. Allocating 60 minutes for your precious body every few days out of a 168-hour week isn’t that much to ask – even if you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a working mum with four kids. You simply can’t contribute to your work or family if your health declines. Schedule yoga into your Google Calendar just like an important meeting and do not skip it! You’ll realise there is time to do yoga and surprisingly you’ll feel much more productive and have more energy afterwards.
Now that the common yoga myths have been debunked, it’s time to give yoga a try. Be receptive to the way the body transforms and observe how your attitude changes. Yoga is a gateway to vitality. With consistent practice you’ll see how your health and relationships will improve significantly!
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