Health & Wellbeing Reviews

Misconceptions of Yoga

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 around it 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.

I’m not shaming anyone for believing something about Yoga which isn’t true (of course I’m not, that completely goes against what I believe Yoga to be) 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 namastรฉ. 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!

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.

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!

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

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.

I’d love to hear whether you thought any of these misconceptions 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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Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

136 Comments

  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 donโ€™t care at all. It has changed my life for the better. Iโ€™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 itโ€™s good enough for Jordan, well…..

    Best – JT

    1. Wow thatโ€™s an incredible story!

  2. it’s so important to bust those myths around yoga… yoga is for everybody and every body… x

    1. Love that saying! x

  3. […] via Misconceptions of Yoga โ€” Jenny in Neverland […]

  4. […] ol’ time since I did a more casual post like this. Although I love sharing blogging tips, talking about Yoga and advice on self employment, it’s nice to throw all that out and write something fun for a […]

  5. Great Post!

  6. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Iโ€™m so glad you have such a great studio!

  7. Love this post!! So true.

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. 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!

  9. 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
    https://www.eventbrite.com/o/yoga-classes-6765353275 , https://wearesacred.org/events/

  10. I’m also using yoga as part of my Weight Loss journey and it is making my journey easy.

  11. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Really glad to hear this!

  12. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Absolutely! Thatโ€™s why I love her โ€œtake what you need, leave what you donโ€™tโ€ approach ๐Ÿ˜Œ

  13. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. She sure does!

  14. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Itโ€™s quite frustrating but hopefully more awareness opens peoples eyes ๐Ÿ˜Œ A yoga retreat had the exact opposite effect on me!

  15. Yaaaas yoga is 100% the best and I had most if not all these misconceptions about it before I started practicing- I love this post ๐Ÿ’—

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Œ

  16. 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.

    1. That’s very true. A lot of teachers don’t really take into consideration their audience.

  17. 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Sophie

    1. Haha fair enough ๐Ÿ˜‚

  18. I love a good bit of yoga, especially when it’s sunny outside x

    1. I did yoga in the garden the other day, was lovely!

  19. Cloe Provost says:

    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!

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