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 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!

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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137 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 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
    https://www.eventbrite.com/o/yoga-classes-6765353275 , https://wearesacred.org/events/

  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 😂

    Sophie

  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
    http://girlygabble.com