Stemming from spiritual origins, Yoga is a common practice performed by over 20 million Americans each year. Many people go into yoga wanting to improve flexibility, balance and overall mental health, yet there are still some common misconceptions when it comes to the mental and physical exercise.
#5 – You have to be flexible.
Yoga beginners typically go into a class thinking “I have to be flexible,” but that isn’t true. Though practicing over time can improve flexibility, it is not the main goal of yoga. In fact, the less flexible you are initially, the more you have to gain.
#4 – You have to wear yoga pants.
Over the past few years, the “yoga pants” fad has swept across college campuses and even the desk of Montana politicians that want to ban them in the public eye. They are flexible, form-fitting pants designed for activities that involve a lot of movement including dancing, martial arts, aerobics and yoga. Though very fashionable, yoga pants aren’t needed. Any clothes you are comfortable in can be worn for yoga.
#3 – There is only one style of yoga.
Depending on the instructor, yoga can be stretch oriented, therapeutic or spiritual. There is not just one practice of yoga. According to the yoga alliance, there are 8 common types of yoga practice:
- Gentle yoga classes are typically calming, relaxing, and less physically demanding than other classes. They may also use props to aid students in their practice.
- Spiritually-oriented yoga classes often include meditation in addition to asana practice. They might also emphasize yoga philosophy, chanting, mantra, or cultivating spiritual growth.
- Flow yoga classes are typically invigorating, and they often include aerobic elements. Each posture is usually held only for a short time before moving to the next posture.
- Alignment-oriented yoga classes give particular attention to precision bodily placement, often with longer holds of asanas. Classes might use props to help students attain the desired alignment.
- Fitness yoga primarily emphasizes the physical dimensions of yoga practice. Typical objectives might include aerobic conditioning, gaining strength, or building stamina.
- Hot yoga classes involve practicing in heated rooms (varying in temperature, potentially up to 110°F). The postures themselves may or may not be physically demanding.
- Therapeutic yoga adapts yoga techniques to help those facing health challenges to manage their condition, reduce symptoms, increase vitality, and/or improve mental outlook.
- Specialty yoga classes often customize yoga for particular groups, such as seniors, children, expectant mothers, and those facing serious health conditions. Specialized training is important for teachers who work with these groups.
#2 – You have to be young.
Many people, ages 16 to 80 perform yoga. You are never too old! In a way, yoga is beyond age as it helps to stabilize the body and mind.
#1 – It’s easy.
Yoga is a combination of strength, balance and flexibility. Often regarded as a practice for women, Yoga was developed by men for meditation and spiritual enlightenment. It requires focus, stability and determination. Depending on the type of yoga you want to practice, it takes time and diligence to master and perform daily, but the pay off is worthwhile!
Come check out our amazing yoga instructors at PowerLady!