You mention Yoga to some people and they physically grimace. I don’t believe it’s because they’re being rude or disrespectful, I believe it’s because they probably have a false idea in their head of what Yoga actually is and what it entails. There’s an awful lot of misconceptions of Yoga and I’ve spoke about it enough on my blog in the past to actually see some of those misconceptions crop up in the comments section.

misconceptions of yoga

I’m not shaming anyone for believing something about Yoga which isn’t true but today I’m here to clear some things up. I try and not cram things down people’s throats (ideas, knives, fire) but I personally do believe and have experienced first hand the benefits of Yoga on my physical and mental health.

Of course we’re all different, have different needs and abilities but there’s so much more to Yoga than chanting and saying namasté. I’m going to try and break down some of the main and obvious misconceptions of Yoga, which will then hopefully encourage someone who’s been putting it off for one of these reasons to finally give it a whirl!

Here are some common misconceptions of Yoga you might have!

You have to be flexible to do Yoga

Erm, no? You absolutely do not have to be flexible in order to practice Yoga. Just like you don’t have to be fast in order to go for a run. It’s a ridiculous misconception and I think a big one in why some people put it off. Flexibility is a nice by-product of practicing Yoga. But you absolutely, 100% do not need to already be flexible in order to practice and reap the benefits. All poses can be modified to suit your personal flexibility.

Before I started Yoga, I was so un-flexible. I used to do dancing when I was younger and I was always the least flexible person in the class by a LONG way. My body has always just been naturally quite stiff and uncooperative. But after 2 years of almost daily Yoga practice, you’d be astounded to see how much my flexibility has improved. I’m constantly amazed by it.

A common misconception of Yoga is that it’s boring

Well, I don’t think so. Some practices you could say are a bit boring. Some of the slower, gentle and more stretchier practices might be boring for someone looking for a hard-core workout or someone who’s used to doing active workouts every day. But the good thing about Yoga is if the boring practices aren’t for you, you don’t have to do them. Because there’s plenty of other high intensity practices you could be doing instead!

I personally enjoy a mix of practices. Some days, I really just wanna move my body and sweat it out. And other days, all I want to do are some gentle stretches, some breathing exercises and a long-ass shavasana. I benefit greatly from both of these and I think we could all benefit from just taking a little time to slow down, breath and meditate. But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you!

misconceptions of yoga

It’s too hard

Again, it doesn’t have to be. This is more or less the complete opposite of the above point, some Yoga practices are very hard. Some cater for weight loss, core stability or toning, some are a very intense 50 minute workout. But a lot aren’t. If certain practices are too hard, just don’t do them and choose a more suitable level of practice for you. And there’s no shame in leveling up or down, depending on how you feel.

In my Yoga With Adriene Practices for every mood post, I categorize my favourite Yoga With Adriene practices into sections, depending on what you’re looking for. I’d highly recommend trying out some of the low energy practices I recommend, if you’re after something slower and less intense. They’re all perfect for beginners too!

It’s only for spiritual people – one of the huge misconceptions of Yoga!

Hell to the no. I can totally see why this is a common misconception and why people think this. But honestly, it’s just not true. It’s not a requirement for starting or practicing Yoga. A lot of spiritual people do practice because Yoga provides a lot of useful tools in expanding your spiritual practice too. But a lot of non-spiritual people practice it too. Like me.

Spirituality is something I’ve never really looked into but last year, I considered trying to learn more. I didn’t get very far and it took an entire Yoga retreat – which was very spiritual and intense – for me to realise that that life just isn’t for me. I do Yoga because it feels amazing. Because it’s a great form of exercise. Because it helps me relax and has positive benefits on my mental health. That’s it.

You have to go to classes

Again, nope. Yoga classes are a great way to get involved with Yoga, meet new people and join in your local community. Classes are extremely beneficial for some people. But they’re certainly not the only way you can practice Yoga, as at home workouts are always an option to. There are plenty of DVD’s to buy on Amazon (this is actually how I started, around 5 years ago) or head to YouTube for an abundance of free Yoga videos!

You’ll know by now that I use Yoga With Adriene and I’m an extremely dedicated viewer and user of her channel. I love her vibe and her attitude. I love how inclusive she is and how she teaches. Going to classes just isn’t for me. I suffer with anxiety, I hate getting too hot and the uncontrollable aspects of going to a class really put me off. So home practice works perfectly for me and is a great option for people who suffer with mental illness or even a physical disability which classes might not be right for.

misconceptions of yoga

I’d love to hear whether you thought any of these misconceptions of Yoga were true! Have any of these put you off trying Yoga in the past which you’re now going to forget about?

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  1. You nailed a lot of the misconceptions I hear from people with those scrunched up faces. Haha. Being a man, I get even weirder looks, but I don’t care at all. It has changed my life for the better. I’ve always been an athlete and this is just another way to train.

    A great story I read was about the Chicago Bulls in the 90s when their coach Phil Jackson took over. They went on to win several NBA Championships, as most people know. One of the first things he did as coach was have them do yoga and meditation techniques. Hey, if it’s good enough for Jordan, well…..

    Best – JT

  2. This post really reminds me of all my misconceptions about yoga before I started yoga! I was lucky that the yoga studio I chose (it was just starting out too) is one which has great teachers and an approach that doesn’t seperate out studients into levels. All are welcome to all classes; they just give a bit of advice on what the class entails. Its not boring and I am now a yoga person. I am also de-mythed about what yoga people look like or do! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. So true. . . It’s probably also because of the wrong image we get through pop culture as it’s easy to dismiss yoga as something fake or meant for fitness freaks!

  4. for my slip disc, i was on medication for several weeks, and i found that to give relief for time being. and, after doing yoga for a few weeks, i started seeing improvement and above all, feeling good – cannot express the level of freshness I can feel after doing yoga everyday. yoga is imply superb. now, i attend every free workshop or online class that I come across – strongly believe, there will be something new learning and no misconception what we probably might come across; published online. here are a few places i regularly visit to learn about upcoming workshops ,

  5. Great post! Before I started yoga I was under the impression it was easy, and more for relaxtion than fitness. I was with 2 friends and we were deciding wether go persue zumba or yoga. My friend chose yoga as she thought it would be easier. Boy were we wrong. After my first session I was hooked. The way it tones your muscles along with relaxation I love it. Plus I’m bendy enough to be nearly doing the splits now 🙂

  6. Resonated with a lot of these and great to see you’re a fellow fan of YWA – think that she has an awesome approach to it. If the spiritual stuff works for you, bring it into your yoga and if doesn’t, then don’t. I never used to be that “spiritual” but yoga has brought that out in me. Great topic and post 🙂

  7. You are so right! I probably was one of those people before I tried yoga for myself and discovered how amazing and addictive it can be! I also love Yoga With Adriene, she definitely has a great vibe. 🙂

  8. This is too true and I’ve had many friends make these exact statements about yoga. After coming back recently from a yoga retreat I learnt the deeper meaning behind it all. Keep up the lovely posts Jenny 🙂

  9. I think the reason people think you need to be flexible to do yoga is because there are a lot of beginner yoga videos out there where the first thing the instructor does is some impossibly flexible move. I know that’s what discouraged me from doing yoga for the longest time. It was only once I found actual true beginner’s yoga videos that I finally gave it a try.

  10. I think I always associate yoga with flexibility but that’s more the kind of yoga I like than anything else. I’m bored if I’m not trying to pull my leg behind my head by the end of the session 😂


  11. This was really interesting to read. Over the past couple years I have fallen so in love with yoga I genuinely forgot how challenging it could be in the beginning. Yoga definitely connects us to our bodies to the point that anything out of alignment become magnified. This is a major blessing if we are committed to self growth but can feel like a burden in the beginning!

  12. I personally won’t do Yoga based on the fact that it’s so boring I napped when I went, and I found out I am not flexible enough so nah hehe

  13. Yes to all of this! I’m not the biggest yogi but I do enjoy it every once in a while. I’m definitely not flexible. I also use Yoga Woth Adrienne and I love it because I can do it at home!

  14. I think I did worry a bit about flexibility, although that was partly because a few people at my work do it in their lunch break (which is lovely) and I was a bit scared of being the worst. But I’ve been giving it a go at home for a few days and I like it as a solo exercise! I think I’d be the same if I *had* to do a class <3

  15. I love Yoga! I definitely don’t do it enough but I want to start taking an informal class or following some more youtube videos at home. I think with any popular activity there’s misconceptions but it’s great you kind of cleared them up here! I think anything which is good for your mental health and acts as a form of exercise is great. Thanks for sharing as always Jenny xx

  16. The physical aspect always put me off a bit – I did a couple of yoga classes but have problems with the muscles in my shoulders and I think the class was too intense for what I could do but no one told me that. Reading this though, I gotta admit to really being tempted… Great post!

  17. I was definitely one of those people who rolled their eyes at the thought of becoming a yogi! Now it’s my favourite form of exercise and meditation. And you’re right that anyone can do it—regardless of spiritual/religious beliefs or fitness level. Did you know there’s goat?! Like, doing yoga with a bunch of goats hanging around? They think of everything these days, lol.

  18. This was very enlightening! I always thought I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible. Could you maybe do a post on how to actually get into yoga? How to warm up, what kind of yoga is best for beginners and what, if anything, to do after the practice?

    1. I’ve done a fair few Yoga posts which probably cover areas of this. The warm ups are usually included within the practice themselves. I can only go on my own experience but I started with Yoga With Adriene and started her yoga for beginners practices snd worked my way up. You know when you’re ready to progress further. Nothing to do after the practice, a few stretches maybe then get on with your day!

  19. I’ve been wanting to try yoga for years for my mental health but I have never known where to start as I’m not very flexible and being inexperienced, the thought of joining a class made me anxious. So thanks for sharing this, I will definitely look into this now xx

  20. Love this! As a yoga teacher all of these are common misconceptions that I see. Especially the spiritual part. When I went through training they literally taught us that the spiritual side of yoga is whatever we want it to be. Meditation, your religion, bettering yourself. You can literally be just spend time connecting with yourself and call that the spiritual side.

  21. I love yoga! I did dancing for most of my childhood and even though I’ve lost a lot of flexibility since then, I still like giving all the different poses and positions a go. I feel like a lot of people will be more willing to try yoga out after reading your post! Thanks for sharing!

  22. What you said about people’s reactions is so true! Whenever I hear someone mention it I can always see at least one eye roll! Yoga is not something I do, purely because I’m just lazy but I keep promising myself that I’m going to give it a go because there are so many benefits!
    Thanks for sharing this! 😊

    Love Lozza xo

  23. I completely agree with this post. It all comes down to what you find comfortable and there a plenty of videos to find what you’re looking for. I also do Yoga at home as I too have anxiety. I get overwhelmed easily, making myself hot and light-headed so I enjoy doing it in the comfort of my own so I can take my time. That’s what I enjoy about Yoga, there’s so many different options. Big fan of Yoga with Adriene, she’s so nice and positive (also love Benji).

    1. I agree, getting too anxious makes me all hot and bothered and uncomfortable. When I was at my Yoga retreat, I had to duck out of almost every lesson for that reason. So YWA is an absolute godsend for me! I love Benji! <3

  24. Yoga is something that I consistently really want to get more into but I just don’t. I try different things (including online 1-1 classes) but it never sticks.

    The most fun I have ever had with yoga was this weekend with my baby nephew, I noticed that some of his natural movements were yoga poses I’d done before so I got down on the floor and did them with him! Something which he appeared to find hilarious and I found it a good way to help centre and stretch out after pushing the pram 🙂

  25. I love this post! I’m definitely a gym person, give me weights and I’ll train. Yet, sometimes I feel the need to take a step back and this is when I follow Yoga with Adriene. Like yourself I find yoga is good for my mental health so those days I don’t feel like i can go to the gym because of mental health, I go home and lock myself in my room and do a bit of yoga.


  26. I loved your comparison between thinking one needs to be flexible to do yoga and fast to go running…bc i always thought i needed to be at least somewhat flexible…also it made me laugh😊

  27. I think before reading your posts about Yoga, I did assume it was hard and you had to be flexible to do it. I no longer think like that – I guess you can say you have educated me lol 😀

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post

  28. I have bipolar and the bipolar anxiety to go with it and i (this is just me) need a hard workout in the morning to get rid of my Anxiety. I had a shrink suggest Yoga and I tried it but it never got rid of all the anxiety for me so now I use Tone it Up and that works. I agree classes are not for everyone including me. I tried the whole class thing and ughhh and at the gtm i was always afraid if i pushed myself to hard I wouldn’t be able to walk the one block back to my apt LOL. I will say that most people I meet that suffer from a severe mental illness do say yoga helps. I think I am just an outlier that needs to work out too the max to calm my brain.

  29. I am still really keen to try yoga. I have always been worried that i am not flexible enough so I’m glad you have said that this is a misconception! Even more tempted to give it a go now so thanks Jenny! 🙂 x

  30. I can see why these things would be thought by some but to be honest, in my opinion Yoga is one of the most peaceful and easy exercises you can do! You can completely tailor it to yourself, your wants and your capabilities and do it in the comfort of your own home. I really need to put more time aside to do it as I’m already pretty flexible and would like to be even more so! I’ve heard so many people say they went into yoga stiff as a plank of wood and gradually eased a lot of their tense areas!
    Alice Xx

  31. Great post! I would love to get into yoga, but there’s always been something unnamed stopping me. This post, along with my desire to be more grounded and in shape, is definitely motivation to start. Thank you for sharing!

  32. What an enlightening post! I never continued with yoga because my flexibility was so bad I can’t even touch my toes and then I bend over my back cracks so I just thought my body was not made for it!

    You have gotten me reconsidering, Jenny and I think I will be brave enough to try give it another go!

    Thanks for the tips!

    Trace x

  33. Love yoga, love this post. Whenever I skip practise for a few weeks etc. I find my flexibility goes, honestly it works wonders and you’re completely right – you don’t need to be flexible to start! That comes with time x

  34. I found this really interesting… I’ve never really tried yoga properly. I guess partly because of some of the things mentioned in here… I’m not very flexible and I think I might find it boring. I may give it a try in the future though.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on it 😀


  35. I have never done it but have always wanted to give it a try, but I pretty much had every thought that you’ve covered in this post.

    So I’m guessing that leaves no more excuses hey!

  36. I always think I’m way too inflexible to do yoga, I always seem to give up after 10-15 minutes because I can’t stretch like the women/men on yoga videos! But i’m definitely going to keep sticking to yoga as I do want to try and be more flexible! xx

    Lucy |

  37. Jenny this post is spot on. I love Yoga but trying to tell my male domimated workforce how fabulous it is, was hard work until I gave them all a taster session! They then realised you don’t have to be flexible and it’s not spiritual. I’m not 24 weeks pregnant and loving that I can still do yoga, I love how it calms me. Thanks for sharing. It’s a great read.
    Nina ❤️ |

  38. I’ve wanted to practice yoga for the longest time but definitely worried that I wouldn’t get much out of it if I wasn’t flexible. My husband and I have a few we want to try out this weekend but I could always use some recommendations 🙂

  39. I’ve definitely heard some of these, but not believed any myself. I know a lot of people do yoga to become more flexible so someone saying you have to be flexible to do it seems silly. I’ve not done yoga myself, but to me it definitely doesn’t seem like it would be boring, it seems super relaxing!

    Chloe xx

  40. I used to think it’s for spiritual people – until I tried it myself & love it! I still hear people saying it’s only possible if you’re flexible or thin, which is so untrue! What i love about yoga is that everybody can do it ✨🥰

  41. I used to think that yoga could be slightly boring but I’ve seen so many people say such great things about it. I need to get on YouTube and have a look as I think it would help me a lot for stress and just relaxation, Great Post x

  42. I’m working out more and more, and I’ve been trying yoga lately. Its something I have to get used to, but I love how calming it can be

  43. Every time I read one of your yoga posts I think I should give it a go again but then I promptly forget (oops, sorry!). I have tried yoga a few times but not really got along with it (I was even thrown out of one class for giggling). I think I’ll have another look at your Yoga with Adrienne post and see if I can make this Spring the time get get started! X

    Lisa |

  44. Not only were all these things my own personal concerns when I started, but they are also what I realize now are not true at all! I loved this post – thanks for putting down all the things I learned, and now tell my friends to encourage them to try!

  45. I do yoga as a way to stretch out my muscles after lifting. Let me tell you, I sweat more during these workouts than anything else!

    There are always misconceptions about all workouts. lol

    (also, I know you are transitioning your blog, but this comment box is TINY. You might want to look into it.)

    1. True, there’s misconceptions about most things. I don’t think the comment box is THAT small, it is smaller than it was before though. I don’t think it’s something I can change.

  46. I love yoga! And am definitely not flexible, I enjoy class settings to get out of the house and never regret it after!

  47. I love this post! I do yoga on and off, and mostly I really enjoy it. I totally agree with what you say about being able to choose what you need for that day, whether is strengthening, getting a sweat on, or just really stretching your muscles!

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