Let’s address some common myths and stereotypes surrounding Yoga:
#1 Yoga is about flexibility and twisting into pretzel-like forms
Chinese Contortionist [Online image] Available http://www.chinesestatecircus.com/images/gallery/Chinese-Contortion.jpg
Anyone can practice yoga and benefit from it. Practitioners are advised to do the best they can because everyone is different anatomically. It is not about achieving the perfect pose. What’s important is bringing awareness to the body and mind. Some people can fold effortlessly into a pose but the mind is somewhere else and not integrated with the body. That defeats the true essence of yoga.
Meet Mathew Sanford, a paralyzed yoga teacher who is an inspiration to all. If a man bound in a wheel-chair can do it, what’s stopping you?
Matthew Sanford [Online image] Available http://www.joesz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/DSC0475.jpg
#2 Yoga is for hippies
Peace Sign [Online image] Available http://www.travel-money-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/sign-peace-symbol2.jpg
Yes, at one point in time yoga was commonly associated with those embracing the hippie tradition. But we are now in the 21st century and not trapped in a time warp living life as part of a 60′s free love community. Through the years, fashion and popular culture change, but yoga philosophy will always remain the same.
#3 Yoga is only for women
Yoga Girl [Online image] Available http://www.dapino-webdesign.nl/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/yoga_girl.jpg
It is unfortunate that many men still believe that yoga is for the fairer sex and somehow practicing it will make them less of a man. Yoga helps you to discover inner peace and promotes healthy well-being. Does that sound gender specific to you?
#4 Yoga is Indian Acrobatics
B.K.S. Iyengar [Online image] Available http://www.iyengaryoga.be/files/Iyengar-Asana-bigger%5B1%5D.jpg
Again, it is not all about the moves and aesthetics of a pose. Difficult poses involving agility, strength and flexibility can be extremely impressive and intimidating to a new comer but these are all just by-products of vigilant yoga practice. Behind the fluid movements of an accomplished practitioner lies something more valuable – a strong, balanced and attentive mind which help the practitioner withstand those unpredictable waves in life.
#5 I must be vegetarian to practice Yoga
Meat Free Zone [Online image] Available http://www.all-creatures.org/mfz/veggiesign.JPG
Yes, you will probably need to be a vegetarian…if you are a Yoga Purist. But that does not mean that an individual living in an urban society like ours is unable to reap the benefits of yoga. At y o g a h u i no religious ideologies are preached and no diet changes are shoved down the throat. You will not be judged if you are a meat eater or a beer drinker. Everyone is entitled to their own belief system and lifestyle preferences. Yoga teachings merely guide you to discover your path to happiness, peace and harmony.