It’s that time of year again! The holidays are behind us and it's time to recommit to our health and fitness goals. I personally love seeing all of the new faces at the gym and in the studio. Working out and eating healthy has had such a huge impact on my life and I enjoy seeing new people discover the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Since the start of the new year I’ve received a number of inquiries from folks interested in starting yoga. They’ve heard of the benefits, and are interested in learning more, but they’ve got questions. Even though yoga is thee most ancient exercise regimen around, dating back thousands and thousands of years, yoga is still taboo in many parts of the US. Is it a religion? What if I’m not vegan? I can’t even touch my toes, can I still do yoga? Today I am here to clear the air and set the record straight about the 5 most common yoga myths.
The Truth About The Top 5 Yoga Myths
Yoga Myth: I’m not flexible enough for yoga
Yoga Truth: The most common misconception about yoga, for sure, is that you need to be flexible in order to practice. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, you don't need to be flexible AT ALL to take yoga. Many of the poses you see on the internet and in magazines are not realistic for the average yogi, and most yoga teachers don’t expect otherwise. Yoga, however, will help you become more flexible, but that's just one of the many benefits.
Yoga Myth: Yoga is boring/slow/not a workout
Yoga Truth: LOL! I get this one a lot and it makes me laugh every time. The really funny part is that this is exactly why I avoided yoga for so long myself. I had this image in my mind that yoga was boring and would never be challenging enough to keep me interested. When after 10 minutes into my first yoga class I was dripping with sweat and gasping for air, I knew I had been sadly mistaken. So here’s the deal, there are various styles of yoga. If you are looking for something that will give you a good workout AND help calm your mind, look for the words, “power, vinyasa, and/or ashtanga” in the studio’s name/description. These and other styles of yoga will give you a strength AND cardiovascular workout in addition to helping you increase your flexibility and become more centered.
Yoga Myth: Yoga Requires an Entire Lifestyle Change
Yoga Truth: Yoga is what you make of it. People practice yoga for many different reasons. Some come for the physical practice alone while others come to find stress relief. It is true that there is much more to the practice of yoga than what happens on your yoga mat, but exploring the other branches is totally up to the student. No yoga studio or teacher will force you to drink green smoothies or make you feel guilty for eating meat. If that happens, find a new studio/teacher. Yoga is a personal practice, so take from it only what you want.
Yoga Myth: I can’t afford to do yoga.
Yoga Truth: You can't afford NOT to do yoga! Yoga is an investment in your health and quality of life that will pay off in dividends. A regular yoga practice will increase your overall wellbeing which is something money can't buy. That being said, I understand that the upfront costs for yoga at some studios can be alarming. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to pay top dollar for quality yoga instruction. Most studios offer introductory rates for new students and regular donation-based classes that cost as little as $5 to attend. Also, keep an eye out for coupons and special offers. For example, my introductory rate for new students is just $30 for 30 days of unlimited yoga, every week I have a donation-based community class that is just $5 per person and once a year I offer %50 off all class passes. If you are concerned about the financial commitment of starting a yoga practice, here’s my advice: call around to local studios and find out if and when they are running special promotions. Also, keep an eye out for donation-based classes (often referred to as “community classes).
Note: Each week I upload new classes to iTunes. These classes are recorded live at my studio and are absolutely FREE to download.
Yoga Myth: Yoga is a religion
Yoga Truth: My studio is located in a small, conservative town, so I get this one a lot. Long story short, yoga is NOT a religion! I’m sure there are a handful of studios in the US that do combine yoga and religious beliefs, but that is NOT standard practice and is very uncommon. That being said, if you are a religious person, yoga will certainly help you strengthen your faith. In a yoga class, you become more in tune with yourself and your own spirituality, whatever that may be.
If you are interested in taking a yoga class for the first time, but nervous or not sure what to expect, call your local studio and ask them questions. Everyone was a beginner once, so your local studio's teachers and staff will be more than happy to answer your questions. Find out what styles of yoga they offer, what classes are best suited for beginners, what you need to wear and what you should bring to class. Most studios have mats new students can rent and props for students to borrow at no cost. Also, don't be afraid to ask if they are running any specials or promotions for beginners.