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Debunking yoga: 5 myths you need to stop believing

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Yoga is a religious practice, you need to be flexible to do it, and more yoga myths stopping you from unlocking all yoga has to give.

Yoga imitates life - it's only when we let go of our expectations of what it may be and open ourselves up to what it could be, that yoga starts working its magic, changing our lives forever.

So here are 5 myths you need to stop believing to embrace yoga fully and fearlessly and unlock this practice's true power:

  1. You need to be flexible and young to practice yoga

  2. Yoga is a religious practice

  3. Being able to do advanced yoga poses means you're better at yoga

  4. You need to change your lifestyle radically to practice yoga

  5. Yoga are just "random" exercises with no scientific background

Keep scrolling to read more about each of them and why they are not true 👇


"yoga will never be about how well you're performing the poses, but rather what you learn whilst holding still in them."

1) You need to be flexible and young to practice yoga

This myth stops a lot of people from trying yoga and is simply not true. Yoga is for everybody, regardless of gender, age, or fitness level. I teach men, women, university students, and people over 50. Demographics don't matter.

Yoga is not a physical practice or a sport. Even though we work through postures, the point of yoga will never be about how well you're performing the poses, but rather what you learn whilst holding still in them.

Yoga is about presence and mindfulness, not whether or not you can bend forward and your hands touch the floor.

So try to let go of your preconceived notions about how "well" you should be able to do the yoga postures - we're all on different paths and everybody will be naturally better at some things and less good in others.

Additionally, an experienced yoga teacher will meet you exactly where you are and adapt the classes so they can fit you and your level of practice. There are plenty of yoga poses and techniques we can use in our classes to make sure the session is challenging enough to keep you interested, and at the same time, accessible and safe.

Last but least, if you're not flexible, this is something we can work *through* yoga (not before you even set foot in a class). Also, there is strong scientific evidence that yoga can aid in lengthening your life span 😉

2) Yoga is a religious practice

Not true. Yoga was created over 6,000 years ago (with recent archeological findings suggesting that the practice could well be 12,000 years old), this means that yoga precedes organised religion the way we understand it today.

(If you'd like to read more about the origins of yoga, check our previous post here)

And whilst yoga is a spiritual practice, it is not dogmatic like most religions are - yoga will encourage you to embark on a spiritual journey, but it'll be one that is personal to you and works for you, your culture, and your beliefs. Rather than limiting you to a set course of action and prescribing you the "right" path, the practice of yoga will ask you questions and promote your self-understanding so you'll evolve spirituality in your own time and on your own terms.

"Yoga, as was created, it's a holistic practice that understands human beings to be more than their bodies - you're also you mind, energy and consciousness."

3) Being able to do advanced yoga poses means you're better at yoga

I blame social media for this one, and all those unattainable yoga photos circulating online (if you're considering yoga for the first time, please don't let them influence you!).

I've been practising yoga for 8 years nonstop and I can't do a headstand. This does not make me a better or worse yogi than those doing it for less time, able to stand upside down on the crown of their heads. It just means that we have different abilities and that's okay.

As I've mentioned before, yoga is not a physical practice, and it's a LOT MORE than the poses you see on Instagram. Yoga, as was created, it's a holistic practice that understands human beings as more than their bodies - you're also your mind, energy and consciousness.

So the physical postures you see online are only a small part of Yoga, which is also comprised of calming breathing exercises, guided relaxation techniques, meditation, and many other components. It's all these elements coming together in class that make yoga a powerful and transformative lifestyle philosophy.

All in all, advancing in yoga has less to do with the gravity-defying poses you're able to do, and more about taking yoga off the mat into your life on the path to self-realisation.

4) If I practice yoga I'll have to change my lifestyle radically

Not really. Yoga will require commitment and dedication for you to see results, but it will never demand anything you're not ready to give.

The beauty of yoga is that you will gradually notice the changes and adapt your lifestyle as you advance in your practice, slowly and at your pace. For instance, with time, you may start preferring a mostly vegetarian-based diet because it will help you feel lighter and boost the results of your practice, but yoga will never force you to become vegetarian.

As I've said before, yoga is a deeply personal practice that will meet you exactly where you are, change over time, and support you on your path to realise your authentic self, with no rush, pressure, or deadlines.

Think of yoga as a wise, well-meaning elder that is there to provide encouragement, support, and guide you as you become the best version of yourself and embrace your best life.

So instead of being worried about all the changes you'll need to go through, focus on letting go of expectations and be open to the transformation yoga brings - everything else will follow naturally

5) Yoga are just "random" exercises with no scientific background

Incorrect. Yoga is far from random, it's a systemised approach to help individuals ease suffering - be it physical, emotional, or mental - and achieve self-realisation.

Yoga, like many other sciences, studies nature and human behaviour to address the question - what is the purpose of our existence?

Yoga offers a profoundly comprehensive method to reconcile body and mind, which is then broken down by Yoga Masters and Sages, who structure sequences and classes for yoga practitioners to access it and reap the benefits.

Moreover, there is an increasing number of modern scientific yoga studies that show the positive impact yoga has on all levels of the human being, and prove what yogis knew many millennia ago.


About the author:

Yogi sitting crossed leg and greeting others

Hey, I'm Cat, a certified yoga teacher based in London UK. I've been teaching yoga since 2017, after two intensive years of studying anatomy and yoga philosophy.

Yoga changed my life by giving me tools and techniques I still use to this day to manage stress and improve my mental well-being.

Join me on the mat online every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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