Yoga is such a "thing" right now. When you are constantly seeing yogis busting out handstands on Instagram and even feeling like your friends are so devoted that you can't even imagine keeping up, it can be pretty intimidating to sign up for that first class in your local yoga studio—or come back for a second! We're hoping this will help...
Myth 1: You have to be flexible to do yoga
You've probably heard it before—saying that you're not flexible enough for yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath. Flexibility is a byproduct of yoga, and not a requirement. From a purely physical perspective, yoga is about building a relationship with your body. It's about developing physical awareness, unlocking the vast potential of your muscles, improving posture and, ultimately, it's about making you more comfortable in your day-to-day life. Every body is different—some are overly supple and some are overly tight. It doesn't matter which category you fall under, all that matters is how you feel. So forget flexibility fears and focus on building a relationship with your body.
Myth 2: Everyone's doing Instagram-perfect yoga
Oh, how we love seeing those picture perfect poses on Instagram. They inspire and awe, but they're not at all the be-all, end-all of yoga. They are simply a testament to our incredible potential as human beings — with commitment and discipline, and let's not forget natural ability, people are capable of amazing things. Handstands are one of them for some people. For others, it's an absolute miracle that regular practice can rid a body of chronic back pain.
Complex poses such as handstands do have a range of benefits—draining fluid from the lungs, improving shoulder strength and mobility, energizing the mind and building confidence. They can also feel show-off-y, which can be off-putting. Just try to be in a place where you avoid placing expectations on yourself to do the “glamour” poses. Be inspired by others around you, but stay true to the reasons why YOU started practicing yoga in the first place.
Myth 3: Everyone is looking at your body and judging you
With the explosion of yoga as a health trend, it's safe to say that most people have an opinion when it comes to yoga, from where to practice and how to practice, to what to wear or even how to look.
The truth is, most people who come to a yoga class are just like you: trying to escape the mayhem of daily life, looking for health and wellness, maybe wanting to meet some likeminded people. Your studio is one of the few places you can go to get away from it all and find a supportive community of friends. Also, probably, no one's looking at you. If they are, maybe they just think you look nice.
Myth 4: You won't get the same workout as the gym
Yoga will work muscles you never knew you had. Rather than lifting weights, you are lifting your own body weight, engaging all of your muscles and providing significant benefits to your health and fitness. Yoga works to build strength in the muscles through dynamic body movement, yet keeps them supple and responsive to enable you to access the body's full potential. That is true strength! So instead of finishing at the gym feeling hungry and tired, yoga leaves you energized and revitalized.
Myth 5: Yoga is only for the ladies
Bros, I know you might be feeling like yoga isn't your workout jam. But here's the thing: everyone who does yoga gets physically and mentally stronger, more confident and more open-minded. Getting gender feelings about yoga is such old news. Everyone's in this mindful-movement thing together. Get your toes on the mat.