There is some major confusion going on when it comes to yoga. That confusion creates a block between potential students and a wonderful experience for them. Here, I would like to clear the air and set the record straight, at least for these three misconceptions.
Misconception #1: Yoga is spiritual
A woman approached me recently saying how she would love to strengthen and tone her body. She heard yoga could do this for her but has yet to take a class because she is “not a spiritual person.” The truth is that if you go into yoga with the intention to lose weight and build strong, lean muscles, that is what you are going to get. If you go in hoping for a calm, clear mind and a peaceful heart, you got it. If you want to heal from an illness, connect with the divine or detox your body, it is all there for you. I highly suggest finding a teacher who makes space for what YOU want. It is true that you could walk into a class where the focus is on chanting, meditating and deepening your spiritual connection. You go to a class where they are playing Pink and pushing you to develop a six pack. And there is every kind of class in between. It reminds me of restaurants-you could go to Café Gratitude or next door to Phyillis’ Burger joint, both will satisfy your hunger, just in a very different way. So, you don’t have to be spiritual to do yoga. You are in control of your yoga experience.
Misconception #2: Yoga is sitting still for a long time
Maybe your job has you sitting at a desk or in a car all day and the last thing you would want to do is sit on your butt during your ‘me time’. It is true that some classes include long periods of sitting but there are many that don’t. There are dozens of different styles of yoga and each teacher brings his or her own personal variety to their class. Personally, I love to move, sweat, twist, open, bend and expand so I attract students who want the same.
Misconception #3: You have to be flexible, thin, and have good balance to do yoga
The truth is that flexibility, balance and a healthy weight are a benefit of yoga, not a prerequisite. It is also not necessary to have a fancy yoga costume with a matching mat and bag. All you need is to make the time and the effort to go. Do a little research, maybe experience some trial and error to find the right teacher and class for you but I believe you will find the right match for you.
This is great news! We are American-we LOVE choices! Yoga will make you flexible, have better balance, loose weight, have a clear mind, and it can be a form of prayer or anything else you make the space for. It is your choice. Remember that these benefits come with a regular, consistent practice over time. I hope this helps you to make that first step in improving your life with yoga.