8 myths about yoga debunked

Yoga is a rage today. But with any trend, there are myths galore. A lot of benefits are being attributed to its practices. Let’s have a look at how true they really are. It pays to be aware, so you don’t get swayed.

  1. Yoga is only about stretching, and it’s too simple

False. Most people believe that yoga is all about stretching your body into various asanas. In truth, only one part of yoga is stretching as there’s much more to it. Yoga involves focusing and connecting with your breath, so you become more self-aware. Many perceive yoga as too slow and mild to actually be beneficial. People have come to identify fitness regime with hard physical labour and immense struggle. Contrary to belief, yoga isn’t that easy. The breath synchronization during various asanas takes practice – you have to focus in the moment. The literal meaning of yoga is union. It unifies your body, mind and soul.

  1. Yoga is for the agile

False. Yoga aims to improve flexibility, balance and strength. You needn’t even be very flexible to begin with. With time and regular practice, you can build on your strength and maintain posture, balance and improve your flexibility. Yoga can be customised for you.

  1. Yoga is for mornings and short sessions don’t help

Yoga is not a morning or evening activity. It is a way of life. Yoga is all about discipline and striking a balance between the body, mind and soul. You can customize it to your needs and convenience. Do as much as you can easily whenever you find the time. Even a daily 10-minute routine will benefit you.

  1. Yoga is only for women

 False. If we look at the roots of yoga, we’d find that it was mainly meant for men. It’s therefore surprising to find people thinking that it is meant only for women. Yoga helps everyone find the balance between mind, body and soul. Of late, more women being attracted towards yoga doesn’t mean yoga is a women-centric activity. It’s for anyone who wishes to improve physical strength and flexibility, and improve self-awareness.

  1. Yoga helps in keeping heart healthy

True. Several studies show that yoga can help reduce the risks of heart diseases. Yoga can help reduce blood pressure, improve lung functioning, lower the heart rate and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. It can even greatly benefit persons with existing heart conditions.

  1. Yoga won’t work with existing injuries or chronic body pain

False. Different studies indicate that customised yoga practice can help relieve chronic aches such as lower back pain and general mobility. Moreover, pranayama or breathing exercises, combined with dhyana or meditation works wonderfully for people with chronic pains or injuries. The body mends more quickly. Regular yoga practice helps in calming down the mind which helps achieve serenity leading to improved general behavioural disposition.

  1. Yoga helps in losing weight

False. And true. The supple bodies of yoga instructors give the impression that yoga will help you burn calories like never before. Surprisingly though, studies reveal that yoga slows down metabolism. Yoga can help you lose excess weight in the long run by making you more mindful of your food choices.  Choosing the more vigorous styles of yoga such as Vinyasa or Power Yoga will certainly help you burn calories faster.

  1. Vegetarianism is a pre-requisite for practising yoga

 False. Ahimsa, non-violence, of the yamas is one of the eight limbs of the path of yoga, as propounded by sage Patanjali in Ashtanga yoga. Many yogis try to follow this path. They become vegetarian, not wishing to harm other living beings. It necessarily doesn’t mean that you’ve to be a vegan to be a yogi. The ideal way is to find your own path after pondering over your choices, reasons and goals.

If you live in Santa Clara, stop by Esha Yoga and you will have a practical demonstration of many of these myths being quashed. If you believe in yoga for health or yoga for harmony, step right in. There are classes in the morning, afternoon and evening. Make the most of life. Do yoga. It’s time.

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