Whether you like it or not, yoga has become one of the biggest cultural phenomenons from India that has captured the imagination of countries across the globe. When people aren't practicing yoga, they are talking about it, reading about it or writing about it. Yoga has in fact, become a hot conversation-starter too. But there is a downside to the fact that yoga has become so popular... Amidst all the hype and hoopla, a whole lot of misconceptions have arisen, surrounding the ancient art form of yoga with a cloud of doubts and speculations. So, we at Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village have decided to bust the top 6 yoga myths and list out the facts that you need to know!
1. MYTH: Yoga is a religious activity.
FACT: False! There are a lot of people who assume that Yoga is a religious or predominantly a Hindu activity. But there's nothing less true than that! While people do regard it as a spiritual process that helps them discover their inner selves, yoga is a completely non-religious practice that is meant for anyone who has an open mind and wants to adopt a holistic approach to living. Offering a whole range of physical and mental benefits, yoga is a right choice for any willing individual, irrespective of their religious or cultural background.
2. MYTH: You have to be flexible to practice yoga.
FACT: False! If you always stayed away from yoga because you assumed you need to be a contortionist or some sort of gymnast to practice yoga, then here's good news for you! Yoga is for everyone... For people of all shapes, sizes and body types. Don't let your stiff body deter you! Over time, if you regularly practice yoga safely, it does help increase your flexibility and makes your joints and spine more supple than ever.
3. MYTH: Yoga is too intense and hard to learn.
FACT: False! There are many different types and variations of yoga. Some are more intense and fitness-oriented, while others are more slow, fluid and focus on breathing. You don't have to be intimidated. Just find a type of yoga that suits your personality and that is right for beginners. Also, feel free to explore all different types of yoga through the course of your learning journey and find something that you love and enjoy!
4. MYTH: Yoga leads to quick weight loss.
FACT: False! Yoga as an ancient tradition is not just a fitness fad, but a way of life. And the yoga way of life helps you not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. But that doesn't mean yoga can replace your regular gym or fitness routine as a weight loss solution. Yes, some newer forms of yoga like the power yoga do focus more on cardio workouts than the traditional version, leading you to shed some pounds. But that doesn't mean you start practicing yoga and expect some miraculous weight loss results. So, practice yoga by all means, but don't use it as an excuse to stop all your other workout habits.
5. MYTH: Yoga is only for women.
FACT: False! We have all seen countless feel-good yoga images that always seem to feature lithe women performing all kinds of asanas. But let's just say that's more of a marketing strategy than reality! Yoga is not just for the ladies. When it comes to offering countless benefits like flexibility, balance, stress-reduction, a calm mind and a lot more, yoga is not gender-biased. If you are feeling hesitant to sign up for a yoga class, why don't you take a buddy along or attend a class led by a male instructor if that makes you feel more comfortable. At the end of it all, you won't regret the decision once your body, mind and soul are in sync and you feel more rejuvenated than ever!
6. MYTH: You have to be vegetarian to practice yoga.
FACT: False! Yoga doesn't tell you what to do or what not to do. There's no rule that states that you have to be vegetarian to practice yoga, but most yogis you encounter might have voluntarily taken the decision to give up meat once they choose to adopt a more healthy and holistic lifestyle. While yoga retreats often serve only vegetarian food in order to provide a detoxing environment to the participants, there is no strict rules against eating meat when it comes to yoga. But be prepared for one thing: Once you become more aware of your body, mind and the world around you through yoga, many aspects of your life might change as part of a natural evolution.