Three Biggest Misconceptions of Yoga

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Yoga is great.

Let’s be honest though, we only know that because we practice its empowering wisdom and teachings. We know first-hand; how profoundly it can influence people’s lives. But for the Average-Joe on the street, it’s a pretty alien sounding world:

Yogi: “I’m working on my Bhakasana before I recite my mantras”
Joe: “… Right… I’m gonna stick the TV on…”

Even on a sociological level rather than inter personal, it has taboos attached, which is primarily why I’m writing this brief article.

1. Yoga is just a physical exercise
2. You have to be fit to take part in yoga classes
3. Yoga is only for middle-aged women

1. Yoga is just a physical exercise

Firstly, Yoga is an ideal; a perspective. To treat it as simply an exercise class that can be attended once a week then discarded for the rest of the week, is a travesty. For thousands of years this knowledge and wisdom has been concentrated into potent methods of transformation for the planet, yet it has been diluted into an easily marketable fitness strategy, something I find very worrying. It requires training, dedication, and practice; not a bit of time when you can spare, purely for some brief relief brought on largely by economic reward, rather than spiritual. Let’s nip that in the bud.

2. You have to be fit to take part in yoga classes

Secondly, if you are a currently un-fit or un-flexible person reading this- Don’t worry! Honestly, when I started I still had the fresh faced image of my childhood self being able to put his foot in his mouth to impress people at Karate, alas that image was bitterly shattered during my first yoga class, wherein which I fell over numerous times, couldn’t raise my arms above my head properly due to an old AC injury (collar bone to non- medical folk) and generally made a fool of myself. But you know what? It was great fun and the accepting nature of the class and the instructor made me want to improve, so not only embrace your current limitations, but use them as fuel for the fires of progression! If you are looking to build a wall, you must first lay bricks; big changes require small, consistent steps. Stick with it.

3. Yoga is only for middle-aged women

Finally, the almost truthful taboo that yoga is a middle aged woman’s health class; not any of the positives that we know and love it for! This is potentially defensible; there are estimated to be 15 million practitioners in the US alone, 72% of whom are female, and over 40% of which are over 40 (1). Unfortunately the statistics for the rest of the world are lacking or non-existent; perhaps a great way to dispel this myth would be to have some kind of global yogic census, to get a true picture of the situation.

For all the points I’ve raised, I believe that by increasing conscious awareness and explaining the issues to our peers is the best way to combat them. We are all children of a collective, so to see these problems as external to our community, and thus not our problems – would be unacceptable by our own standards.

Strive for mindfulness and authenticity at every turn.

(1) http://www.statisticbrain.com/yoga-statistics/

Yogasync Me! You have to be fit to take part in Yoga?  Not true!  Prove it to yourself by trying this 45 minute sequence, especially for anyone feeling unfit or heavy with extra kg’s:

Yes I Believe Nothing is Stopping Me from Loving Yoga!

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About Jack Charles

Jack is a Yoga practitioner/teacher, writer, actor & Psychology student, who aims to bring a fresh perspective to the ancient art. Check out his work at www.ifawoodchuckcouldchuck.com & www.ghatyoga.com.

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