One of the best anti ageing practice, yoga, is surrounded by many myths. Here are some yoga myths that you might find amusing:
1. I practice Yoga, so I am an Yogi/Yogini
What we practice as yoga is only 2 parts, Asanas and Pranayamas of total 8 parts [others being (3) social restraints or ethical values, (4) personal observance of purity,tolerance and study, (5) senses withdrawal in preparation for meditation, (6) concentration, (7) meditation and (8) ecstasy], which is real Yoga. Yoga is vast and deep. What we know this day as yoga is only a tip of the iceberg.
2. Yoga Practitioners are vegetarians
May be because yoga originated in India where most people are vegetarians, there is a wrong notion that all yoga practitioners are vegetarians. Founders of yoga never considered vegetarianism as a mandatory pre-requisite. But it is true that regular practice of yoga will reduce your cravings for non-vegetarian food, alcohol, carbohydrates, sugar etc. Possible reason is that yoga maintains the chemical balance in your brain and the hormonal balance in your body, thus helping you with your cravings. People who get on Yoga certainly feel it is easier to walk away from a chocolate cake or steaming mutton biriyani!
3. Yoga Practitioners have perfect 10 body
A regular yoga enthusiast may be healthier than a non-practitioner. But they need not be a perfect 10 or, should I say, Size Zero? Yoga is about having a healthy body. Not about having an aesthetically appealing body or a body that forever looks like that of a teenager. So, do not be surprised if you see your yoga guru a little out of shape (ahem…ahem…). That need not form your judgement on his or her yogic skills.
4. Yoga Practitioners are not fun loving
People tend to think that if you are a yoga practioner, you are too serious about life to the point you become boring for the rest of humanity. Just after my Facebook page mentioned about my tryst with yoga, I started getting invites for pranic healing, spiritual awakening, vipasana meditation and the works :-(. Thank God, my friends still take me along for girls’ parties and fun outings! :-D. You still can enjoy an occasional glass of wine while practicing yoga. Of course, when you get into yoga, even vegetable juice and having a good night sleep can be fun things to do!
5. Obese/overweight people cannot do yoga
Your weight has nothing to do with your flexibility. A thin and lean person can be less flexibile that an obese or over weight person.
6. You have to be flexible to do yoga
You can gradually increase your flexibility by regular practice. A body which may have been quite rigid at the beginning of learning yoga will start to experience a remarkable flexibility, even in the places which have not been consciously worked upon. Correct Yogic stretching develops the entire body.
7. Yoga Practitioners do not get angry ever
How I wish this was true? Jokes apart, it is true that yoga makes you tolerant and less impulsive to react to negative situations. But to say that the negative situations never angers you is a myth.
8. Men do not do yoga
This is true to an extent that 70% of the yoga practitioners are women. May be because men think it do not give you an endorphin high. Men should just give it a try. It will also improve your mental focus, get rid of toxins from your system and even improve your performance in the bedroom. Ironically, till yoga went to West, vast majority of the yogic practitioners were all men!
9. Yoga is religious
For many people, the main concern in a yoga class is whether they are breathing correctly or their legs are aligned. But for others, there are lingering doubts about whether they should be there at all, or whether they are betraying their religion
You can say yoga is spiritual, definitely not religious. Or rather, yoga is a religion on to itself. Practicing yoga most certainly doesn’t make you a Hindu!
10. You should be able to do all impossible postures
Simple postures are equally effective as complicated postures. Benefits do not improve just because you do a more complicated posture.
11. Yoga heals Illnesses
Yoga is not a cure for all illnesses. It is more preventive in nature. But it has been proven that it is extremely beneficial in many cases and that it works quite efficiently when combined with medical treatments people might follow. But certain exceptions are there. With a bit of diet modification, yoga works very well for disorders of digestive systems like diabetes and for menstrual disorders.
12. Yoga will make you celibate
A big myth that you will lose interest in sex if you are a regular yoga enthusist. Imagine what your flexibility and breath control can make you do in bed! ;-)
13. Yoga originated from Hinduism
Yoga existed even before Hinduism. In fact Jesus Christ was one of the biggest Raja Yogi ever walked this world. The Hindu, Buddhist and Jain spiritual traditions or Dharmas have all grown out of a common spiritual heritage. The universal practices of Yoga were adopted by all three spiritual traditions and modified with time.
14. You can learn yoga from a book / videos
You need a guru for sure to start learning yoga. May be after 6 months of practice with a guru you can use books/videos as your guide. Postures are important and you may land up with aches and pains if you practice incorrectly.
15. You have to be in excellent shape to start yoga
Yoga is something anyone can start and practice at any age. Only degree of intensity changes. You compete with yourself. Each day you should be able to perform better than what you did yesterday.
16. Yoga will make you thin
Yoga will not make you thin. But it tones your body. You will lose inches. Trick is regular long term practice. If you are looking at immediate weight loss, you should look elsewhere.
17. Yoga is to be learned from young age
You can start learning yoga at any age. Since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of age or fitness level.
18. Chanting OM is religious
Vibrations coming from sounds like OM, HUM, YUM, RUM,LUM, YUM correspond to the Chakras in our body. Each sound influence a specific system. For example, a diabetic will benefit from Chanting RUM (no pun intended ;-) ).
OK! That was my long list of yoga myths. If going through the list has not aged you already, keep watching this space. More interesting things are yet to come :-)
Really eyewashing. Very relevant
Thanks Ann, I too try a bit . One thing I have exp is that one need not try to do everything, may be 6-8 good postures and proper breathing, that is all needed. I hope you go ahead a master this. What is your basis of comments on Jesus Christ . thanks.
Your article was interesting and will shatter myths of many regarding yoga! But i would like to shatter one of your myths …Hinduism is the oldest religion and yoga originated from India! You were 100% right when you said jesus christ was a great raja yogi! He learnt yoga from India. India is the place where the mother of all religions originated “hinduism”. You were once again right all religions had a common origin and that is hinduism. You can read more about it just google!
Hi Amala… Yoga pre-dates Hinduism….
A well written article. Keep posting Ann, you are doing a commendable job.