My friend Mandy is always saying how she hates yoga. My response is always the same: You didn’t try the right class. I have other friends who think that touching their toes is a yoga prerequisite (not true) and have even heard guys say that yoga isn’t “manly” enough (so not true).
Even though yoga’s been around forever, myths abound. Big time. Thankfully Sierra Campbell, director of Urban Yoga in Phoenix, is here to clear them up. Here, she debunks common downward dog delusions so we can all get our Om on (that includes you Mandy!)…
Often I hear people say, “I am too tight. Yoga is for flexible people.” The reality is: There are NO prerequisites for yoga! Of course, don’t even think about showing up to a power class for your first few classes. If you’re tight, want to loosen up and experience yoga, try a slow-paced, deep stretching foundations class or restorative.
There are many pre-conceptions about yoga, for instance: Not all yoga is done in a hot room at 104+ degrees in tight clothing and padded, push-up Lululemon tops! As the practice of asana (postures) has moved into the western world, instructors have put their spin on things and taken yoga to a place of physical fitness and a cardio extravaganza! You probably won’t find vinyasa flow classes in India where people are doing chaturangas (AKA yoga push-ups) to Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin and the latest poly-rhythmic house music. Yet, you will find this in studios and gyms all across the United States. Although, you could easily find incredibly challenging yoga classes throughout India where the breath is the soundtrack of the practice.
Don’t give up on yoga if your first class seemed intimidating or you didn’t walk out feeling like Gumby. Yoga is about practice, self-discovery and experience. In order to really find the benefits of yoga, you must find the teacher(s) that support your practice and growth as a human being, not just as a physical body sweating on a mat. A good yoga class has you leaving smiling, feeling open and breathing deeper. Happy yoga to you!
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