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 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?

Wanna get involved? Join my supportive Facebook bloggers group, Starlight Bloggers!

Advertisements

Jenny in Neverland

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

136 Comments

  1. Meilifisayo says:

    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

    1. Well if you read this post you’d know that you don’t have to be flexible to do yoga so that’s a bit irrelevant 😌

  2. I love this article! It’s cool to see another point of view when it comes to yoga. I can’t wait to read more!

    1. Thank you 😌

  3. 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!

    1. It’s so convenient 😌

  4. Yoga honestly keeps me calm, I feel so much better when I do my yoga session!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    1. Me too! I dunno what I’d do without it!

  5. 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

    1. There’s definitely no best or worst when it comes to yoga. It’s not a competition and there’s no medals for getting into a certain shape. It’s so personal to you 😌

      1. I’m beginning to understand that I think (tricky when you’ve been taught to be so goal-focused). Thanks for your kind reply 💛

  6. 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

    1. Totally agree – I think all exercise can be great for mental health so it’s just about finding one that suits you 😌

  7. 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!

    1. Ah yes possibly! It’s important to start at your level 😌 When I started I did the most basic yoga for beginners and worked up!

  8. Elise says:

    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.

    1. Yep I’ve seen the goat yoga, I’d LOVEEE to do that!!

  9. Boss Babe Chronicles says:

    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!

  10. 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

    1. It’s done wonders for my mental health. Forget about flexibility, it’s irrelevant! YWA has some amazing practices for beginners x

  11. Tris says:

    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.

    1. I love that! It really is what you make it. There are no rules!

  12. Heather Nixon says:

    I think the main misconception with my family is that it ‘isn’t exercise’ which is so wrong x

    http://www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

    1. Pffft I beg to differ!

  13. 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!

    1. I do hope so 😌

  14. 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

    1. There really are! I hope you do give it a go one day 😌

  15. I’m a massive fan of yoga and meditation so really loved this blog post darling, I’m super happy that you have shared your views. 🌸💜

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | http://www.alishavalerie.com

    1. So glad you enjoy it as much as I do x

  16. Sarah says:

    I love reading your yoga posts and really want to start! Xx

    1. You totally should x

  17. I’ve always wanted to try Yoga but always felt a bit intimidated by it for some reason. I definitely thought you had to flexible and I’m really not so I feel much better about giving it a go now! Brilliant post 🙂

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

    1. I was like a Tin Man before hand 😌

  18. 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

  19. 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 🙂

    1. Maybe you should roll out and mat and do some Yoga with him!

      1. I did over the weekend! But I don’t see him so often 🙁

  20. abigailtalkabout says:

    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.

    Abigail-xo
    http://Www.abigailtalksabout.com

    1. Sounds perfect! There really is something for everyone when it comes to Yoga <3

  21. Shaura Newbold says:

    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😊

    1. Nope, not at all! It’s a good comparison because it makes people realise how silly it sounds!

  22. 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

    1. Nope! Yoga is a state of mind. Meditation and some basic neck, shoulders and arm stretches can be Yoga!

  23. I have tried yoga and I enjoyed so far. I did not think I could do it because I am plus size. But I actually can do some of the poses.

    1. You absolutely can do it! Like I said, all poses can be adapted depending on whatever you need 🙂

  24. 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.

    1. Just because you need workouts don’t mean you can’t do Yoga too. Yoga is a fantastic way to end a work out!

  25. Molly Catherine says:

    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

    1. It totally is. You should give it a go! It doesn’t matter what anyone else looks like doing Yoga 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.