I have been an avid “yogi” for about four years. Through my journey as a yogi, a person who is proficient in yoga, I have posted several pictures and videos of my favorite poses on social media. The most common response seems to be, “I wish I could do yoga, but I’m not flexible and it looks hard.” This seems to be a common misconception of yoga, that one must be flexible in order to practice. I’ve decided to dedicate this post to clarify two big myths that are associated with yoga.
First, let’s tackle the flexibility myth mentioned above. Some think that the only people that can practice yoga are those who are flexible when in fact, yoga is used to increase flexibility. Flexibility is not the only component of yoga. There are other things that you can contribute to your practice such as strength, balance and concentration. A big component of yoga is being able to find your center and silence any invading thoughts that may take you away from being present in your practice. The more you practice, the more flexible you will become.
“Yoga is only for young women.”
This seems to be another misconception of yoga. Yoga does not discriminate against gender or age, it’s for everyone! During my first week in Gainesville, I practiced next to a 70-year-old man who had briefly mentioned to me that he started practicing yoga with his wife twenty years ago and never looked back. This man continued on to practice amazing headstands, something I have yet to master. Truth is, yoga has many benefits that would interest men. At the beginning of most yoga classes, a reminder to honor your body’s particular needs is said. This creates an awareness and habit to assess yourself which in the end prevents workout injuries. Yoga calms your mind through breathing exercises which leads to greater concentration at work. Yoga also sculpts muscles through the use of your own body weight to build mass and strength.
As always, remember to honor your body when you practice.