Yoga is hot. And what felt like something trending, a passing fad, has really entrenched itself in the American mindset as favorite exercise choice. A Forbes article cites that yoga-ers have nearly doubled in the past three years, from 20 million to 37 million practitioners. That means approximately 1 in 10 people yoga. (Is that a verb?).
But for many, yoga remains a bit … mythical. There are many erroneous ideas attached to what yoga is, and isn’t. Considering September is National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health and Human Services, there’s no better time than the present to discuss yoga. As a registered personal trainer in New York City, I want to share what I love about yoga and what misinformation there is about yoga. Here are the top yoga myths I often hear in my practice.
- All Yoga is the same.
- There are seemingly innumerable styles of yoga. Some trending (hot/Bikram) and some classic (Kundalini and Sivananda). Some have been adapted from classic yoga (Ashtanga adapted to Vinyasa/Power).
- How do you choose? Answer why you want to practice yoga: for flexibility, balance, inner peace, a hard workout. Depending on the reason for doing yoga, you should choose your style. But you might want to try several styles before settling on one.
- Yoga is too expensive.
- At one time, yoga may have felt like it was meant for a Real Housewives episode. But really, the beauty of yoga, is it can be done anywhere big enough for you to stretch your body. There are some phenomenal Youtube Channels (these are recommended by YogaWarrior) with solid, good instruction. And, as a perk of National Yoga Month, many local yoga studios are giving out a week of free yoga for anyone who’s interested in trying what this is all about.
- Yoga is a religion.
- The premise of yoga is spirituality – meditation and being mindful, grateful, and compassionate toward yourself and others. I personally think the world could use a lot more of all of the above. 😊
- Yoga is for thin, twenty-something vegetarians, or soccer moms with lots of free time.
- Yoga is for everyone! (Kids, too). This article about kids getting meditation instead of detention went viral, for good reason. How radical to build the ability to be mindful and calm instead of having knee-jerk punitive reactions. There’s also a campaign to do yoga recess in school
- Yoga meets you where you are. This is something particularly wonderful about how innately compassionate yoga is. You are you, and it works with all body types, ages, and people with different physical needs. There’s
- Yoga can cure osteoporosis. False.
What are some of yoga’s biggest benefits?
- As many yoga styles are low-impact, it’s an great option for older clients and clients with arthritis.
- It helps with balance.
- It strengthens muscles and range of motion.
- It’s a great option for people who need to learn to take things down a notch, be mindful, and breathe.
- It can be done anywhere, in small spurts or longer periods of time. So it’s adaptable.
- Anyone can start with just a few exercises.
- It’s amazing to improve your posture.
- It can be cardio – increasing your heart rate – without hurting joints.
- It improves flexibility.
So this month, why not hop on the bandwagon? Try yoga. You might be surprised how just a little bit can make you feel a lot better.