The more popular yoga becomes, the more rumors I hear about what yoga is or what I must be like as a yogini. The biggest, most common false believe about practicing yoga is that you have to be flexible and able to put a leg into your neck in order to step on a yogamat. And this is just one of the many untrue ‘facts’ about yoga! Just to set things straight I’ll give you a list of the biggest false believes about the art of practicing yoga.
Yoga is only for girls just as much as kick boxing only is for men. Come on, it is not the Middle Ages anymore. Yoga is for everybody. It is about self-acceptance. You go to yoga to feel better, not to feel worse because there is a slim, flexible person standing next to you. Don’t compare your body or your practice to the one next to you. Yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age, gender or body type is! There are tons of physical and mental benefits for every person that takes the effort to practice the art of yoga. Have you ever looked at some advanced yogaposes? You need some strong core and arm muscles and yes doing yoga will give you more toning and will get you in shape, although hat is not the main goal of yoga. More and more men practice yoga these days, yoga is complementary for surfers and runners and yes, there are even yogaleggings for men! Once we become comfortable in our physical bodies and recognize that we are in a perfect state just where we are right now, there will be no need to compare ourselves to others or to feel like we don’t belong in a yoga class.
This is the biggest lie people tell themselves as an excuse not to go to yoga, and that’s a shame. Because you don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga. From doing yoga you become more flexible. Again, everyone is different and has a different body type. Let’s keep an open mind here and don’t think in boxes or limitations! Yoga is about finding your own boundaries and it is a personal practice. Everyone is facing different challenges and your practice is a reflection of what is going on in your personal life. Some people have shorter hamstrings then others, but the truth is that it doesn’t matter. From doing yoga you become more flexible, not only in your body but also – and that for me is even more meaningful – in your mind. The only thing you need to go to yoga is an open mind, and the willingness to try your best, whatever that may be for you at any time. So you see you don’t need an extreme flexible body in order to practice yoga, all you need is a flexible attitude!
For a lot of yogis and yoginis yoga definitely is more than just a physical exercise, it can become a lifestyle, and you can have religious, or spiritual reasons to practice yoga. But you don’t have to be religious or spiritual in order to do yoga. Yoga is for everyone who wants to have more balance in their life and for those who want to feel more aware and more energized! These days there is also corporate yoga for business people, childrensyoga, yoga for pregnant women, older people, community yoga and more. Yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age, gender or body type is! You don’t have to be become vegan or say goodbye to your Jimmy Choo’s in order to become a yogi. You can integrate yoga into your personal lifestyle in a way that feels right for you.The more yoga you do on the mat, the more you want to practice yoga of the mat. This means treating yourself and others with respect and being more conscious in the decisions you make. But yoga isn’t a religion in the traditional sense; there is not only one God or Goddess that you have to obey. You can be an atheist, agnost or a christian, all people are welcome to yoga as long as you respect and do not harm others.
Yes, doing yoga can feel like a work-out and I can guarantee you that from doing yoga regularly your body will tone, but there is so much more! The physical practice, doing the asanas, is only 1/8 of the traditional yoga path (a few other parts contain meditation and breathing exercises). Some people think yoga is just 90 minutes of stretching, this is also not true. Yes, getting into a yogapose (asana) can feel like stretching your muscles, but stretching is not what yoga is about. Yoga is about being present in the moment and unfolding the tricks of your ego. It’s about moving with the breath and moving trough life with grace. Yoga can be your way of life or just your weekly workout in order to get a stronger core and let go of physical tension. The reasons why you practice yoga really don’t matter. Just keep in mind that yoga isn’t about becoming flexible for a great Instagram shot; the original idea of yoga was to make the body ready to meditate and to sit without dis-ease.
As you hopefully realize by now, yoga is more than a workout. It can be a complete lifestyle too and practicing yoga doesn’t stop when you get of the mat. This is the moment when it all starts! Can you take the things you’ve learned on the mat and integrate them into your daily life? Such as compassion, patience and self-love. Your yoga practice on your mat is a direct reflexion of what is going on in your daily life. When you learn how to deal with handling your boundaries on the yogamat, chances are that you will be able to deal better with other challenges in your daily life. Whenever your practice yoga more regularly, you will find yourself more focused and more in line with nature and the flow of life, even when you’re of your mat.