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Myths That Keep People Away From Yoga

Some yoga myths are made to be debunked; the info below shows how it’s false stereotypes that keep people from developing their bodies and minds. There’s no denying that yoga is immensely popular, being practiced regularly by millions of people worldwide. However, there are also misconceptions about this particular form of exercise, and some of those may actually be keeping you away from yoga. To clear things up, here are some yoga myths that you may have fallen for.

Yoga is a girl thing

While it’s true that many yoga practitioners today are women, there’s definitely also men that enjoy and benefit from yoga, and traditionally, it was almost exclusively a male activity. What’s important to keep in mind is that yoga is about building mental and physical awareness and balance, which will strengthen your body and can help you relieve stress you may be experiencing in your day-to-day life. Those benefits are obviously not gender-specific!

Flexibility and physical strength are required

Every body is suitable for yoga, no matter how flexible or strong it is. While you will probably become more flexible and strengthen your muscles as a result of regular yoga practice, it is not a prerequisite, because there’s more to it than pretending to be a pretzel. Yoga poses come in all kinds, and for those who are maybe less flexible or less physically strong, there are still many ways to practice yoga and benefit from it — it’s not about being “good” or “bad” at it, anyway, but about knowing what’s healthy for you.

Fitting in with the yoga crowd

There are many stereotypes about the kinds of people that practice yoga, which means that potential new yogis can be reluctant to start, because they might be worried they’ll be rejected by the established crowd, or that being a yogi conflicts with their own beliefs. First of all, yoga is not a religion (it’s actually believed to be older than Hinduism), so following or not following any religion is completely fine. Secondly, yoga is practiced by all kinds of people, and not all yogis are left-wing, vegan hippies and even if they are, they definitely won’t reject you if that’s not your thing!

Yoga is easy

Yoga is as challenging as you’re willing and able to make it. While many believe it’s just about light stretching, different exercises can be a good way to build strength if that’s what you’re looking to achieve. Pushing yourself too far can actually harm your body, so there’s the added challenge of focusing on control and awareness. While it’s often seen as a mild form of exercise, it’s not by definition easy or risk-free.

Yoga For Beginners

Yoga literally means being one, first with your inner self and then with the supreme being. It is one of easiest ways to keep yourself fit, and here we would cover some basics of yoga for beginners.

Before you enrol in a Yoga class, it is very important for you to understand what type of yoga will suit you best. Patanjali and Ashtanga yoga are the oldest and purest forms of Yoga. New versions like Bikram yoga, Power yoga, etc have come up well and have their own group of loyal practitioners. There is no absolute right or wrong here, go for the one that appeals to your sense and sensibilities.

While Yoga is a very simple practice, it also has subtle nuisances which if done wrongly, can harm our bodies. It is best that you first consult a medical practitioner and analyse yourself. Then you should find for yourself a Guru who will help you find balance of mind and body. Being experts, they also know what all to take care of when constructing a module of yoga.vinyasa transition

If you have any medical conditions, freely discuss them with your instructor so that he can customise asanas accordingly. Just to give you an example, while asanas like Mayurasana increases blood pressure, Uttansana reduces it. Every pose of Yoga has a different effect on our body.

Let us now briefly understand the two main parts of Yoga – the pose i.e. Asana and the breathing i.e. Pranayama. Yoga helps your inner and outer self to become one, and thus a perfect harmony between the pose you take and the way you breathe is of utmost importance.

Asana – while different writings give a different number of asanas, varying from 66 to 1300, most texts agree with the 84 asanas made by Lord Shiva. Asanas can be classified using different methods:

  1. By Benefit – this is the easiest and most followed classification as most of us start Yoga for specific reasons. So we have yogasana for cardiac problems, hypertension, arthritis, digestion, depression, menopause and more.
  2. By type – this classification is based on what we are doing in that particular asana. We have backbends, inversions, arm balancing asanas and various twists
  3. By body part – while most asanas work on complete body, some are more effective for specific body parts. So we have asanas for knees, back, head, hips, even eyes.

Pranayama – Prana in sanskrit means life force and ayama is to control. Pranayama thus is to control our life force i.e. breath. When we sit in a particular asana, to make it more effective it is very important that we breathe in a certain manner. In any program of Yoga for beginners, breathing is the first thing that is taught to us. Proper breathing by itself is rejuvenating and can be practised sitting anywhere, office, home, even in the cafeteria waiting for your favourite brew.

Once you have decided which form of Yoga to practice, searched, identified and enrolled with a practitioner, some more things are to be taken care of before you start. 1. Get yourself some simple, comfortable and stretchable clothes and a good yoga mat2. Always remember to do Yoga on an empty stomach3. Do a little bit of warm up to loosen your muscles before you begin4. Be patient, results will come at a slow but steady pace.

Last but definitely not the least, always maintain a cheerful outlook and a light smile on your face, you will see that a small smile will bring a big difference to your yoga practice. Keep smiling, keep practising.

The Different Types of Yoga

There are many different types of Yoga. The word “Yoga,” in Sanskrit, means “Union” or “Oneness with the Divine.” There are Yoga practices of the mind and those of the body. The physical practices, known as “Hatha” (Body) Yoga, are the kind we see people doing in all the teaching videos and Yoga studios. With literally hundreds of styles, the practice is designed to promote health and fitness, longevity, mental clarity, and to prepare the body for meditation and eventually advanced meditation practices. This article shall focus on achieving an idea of Yoga Explained for the rest of us.

female in yoga pose

One need not necessarily delve into the meditation practices or the religion associated with the advanced meditations and chants in order to practice this practical exercise for physical health, mental clarity, and longevity. Anyone gets to do Yoga, so there is no requirement to convert to Hinduism. In fact, most Yoga instructors and systems of practice have separated the religious aspects from the physical practice so all creeds may receive the benefits.

Yoga is a practical, comprehensive style of exercise which combines stretching with strength training and cardiovascular intensity. The stretching and lengthening of muscles result from the different poses and depths of the poses, while the resistance and strength training manifests counter resistance to one’s own body weight and movement. It is actually quite an intense workout, contrary to popular belief among those who have never even tried it out.

The world of Yoga practices is indeed a confusing one thanks to the media and the sheer number of different studios, videos, books, and retreats available. Which kind of Yoga is the right one? Which one is right for you? Because one friend told you that Ashtanga Yoga was the best, but your best friend told you the only real Yoga is Iyengar Yoga. All of this simply leads to confusion and misunderstanding when the goal is Union, not confusion.

Learning straight from a book or from YouTube or a video is not the best approach for the beginner seeking Yoga Explained in the proper manner. It is better to learn proper form and style from qualified, professional instruction as you venture into what will become a life-long practice. The solution is to find a reputable Yoga teacher at a good studio and start with what are simply known as beginners’ classes. This first step is vital to develop a strong foundation for more advanced practices.

By starting with basic Hatha Yoga instruction, you eventually develop a solid routine which you remember and can do anywhere. Then you can move on to more intense Yoga, such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga, both of which emphasize continuous transitions and more cardiovascular exercise with the focus on developing total body strength and mental focus.

There is also the system of Iyengar Yoga, which eventually moves into some of the most advanced postures, but starts with a clear beginner’s practice and you gradually progress. This was the most popular style in the 1960’s and 70’s because it was the first style brought to the West. After you learn the basics, begin to choose the style with which you find the best connection.

Can Anyone Do Yoga?

Often, the images of yoga ingrained in our minds are those of super-fit yogis performing seemingly impossible physical feats, leading us to believe that yoga is only for a select few.

However, the good news is that anyone can take up the discipline and experience its numerous benefits, and all it takes is a few guidelines to consider before joining the class, which we shall also discover as we read on.

To begin with, the main focus of yoga is achieving inner peace by reconnecting with your innermost being. This helps us define our purpose, know who we are, why we exist, and what we need out of life. All of us need an answer to these critical life questions and therefore yoga is crucial for all of us.

yoga group

Other Benefits of Yoga

It is best to point out that even though inner peace may be the focus, the following benefits can never be ignored due to their sheer importance :

• Increased flexibility and mobility

• Improved respiration

• Stronger and more toned muscles

• Better blood circulation

• Improved metabolism

• Prevention of muscular and skeletal injuries

And now that we have outlined some of the key benefits, let’s look at what you need to consider before joining the next class.

A Few Guidelines for Joining the Yoga Class

1. Get Time for Yourself

The hustle and bustle of modern living often leave us with no time for ourselves. And yet, in order to make sense of the world we live in, we need to take time from it all, sit still, and think.

Yoga is perfect for that. It’s the quickest way to recharge our batteries. Paying for the next class is only the first step: finding time to actually attend the class is just as important.

2. Look for the Most Convenient Class

It is crucial that your class can easily fit into your daily routine. Give yourself an allowance for delays such as traffic jams.And be honest with yourself, know when your body works best.

A morning person will find the morning class invigorating while an evening person may struggle a bit in the morning but be the star of the evening class.

3. The Yogi is an Understanding Person

The yogi is still on a journey to achieve inner peace, just like the beginner joining the class today. They are understanding people who are not judgemental or on a fault-finding mission and will always be ready to help you get the best out of yourself.

And therefore, if your yogi is showy, a brag or acts impatient, and this is rare, then it is time for you to consider changing classes.

4. If Having a Chronic Condition See Your Doctor First

Before joining the class, it is best to consider whether you have any chronic conditions for which you need the doctor’s opinion before you proceed.

Yoga is a versatile discipline and your trainer can design a regime that fits your needs in the event that your physician advises caution but does not forbid you from the class, which is frequently the case.

Good luck. And welcome to this amazing yoga journey of self-discovery which anyone can be a part of.

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