By Santosh Dhanaji Patil
Yoga and India aren’t strangers, yet we find Yoga’s popularity suddenly spiking after it’s embraced by the west. It has become the thing to do to be fit with celebrities swearing by it. It is as if Yoga is a ‘novel’ concept or is reinvented by the west. After it has become the ‘in’ thing, there are two sets of people- the ones who do it and others who don’t. Most of people who do it, adopt yoga for life while the others don’t want to do it because of the myths around it or don’t know how.
Here, we will try to break the common myths about yoga.
Myth no.1: Yoga is only for the young and fit.
“Yoga takes care of the complete well being of a person. It doesn’t have an age barrier and can be done by anyone who is over the age of 12” says Meena Joshi, a yoga instructor with degree from Kalidas University. Yoga in fact is good for the problems that come with old age like arthritis, blood pressure; it helps us to age well and improve immunity.
Myth no.2: You have to be really flexible to do Yoga.flexibilty and yoga
Most common images associated with yoga are of people either standing on the head or being fixed in positions you wouldn’t dream of reaching. But don’t fret, they might be pro at yoga but “one of the basic principle of yoga is ‘Shanai, Shanai’ or ‘take it slowly’. You aren’t expected to touch your toes or twist your neck in the beginning. Do only what you are comfortable with. There is no ‘ideal’ level of flexibility; it differs from person to person” she says.
Myth no.3: Yoga provides magical cures
Just starting yoga and expecting all the ailments to vanish isn’t going to work. Yoga is very good for maintaining good health and taking care of the nervous system. But you really have to be consistent to reap all the benefits of yoga. So don’t put away your medication as soon as you start yoga, take proper medical guidance before doing so.
Myth no.4: Doing yoga is all about spiritualism
Yoga and spiritualism – Though Yoga was founded by the rishis, it is not bounded by religion nor has it to be adopted only by those interested in spirituality. Yoga can be adopted by anybody with or without religious inclination. Yoga can provide the much needed relaxation and peace in today’s hectic lifestyle. So, yoga is more relevant for you and me than a person already away from every day cares.
Myth no.5: Only women do Yoga
Even though most of the followers of yoga may be the women, yoga is definitely also for men. If you observe, most of the famous practitioners or instructors they all are men. If men feel yoga is only about some postures and for flexibility, they should remember that yoga has so much to offer men like strengthening and toning muscles, relaxing and releasing stress.
Myth no 6: Yoga should only be done in the morning
You would be able to reap the best results of yoga if you do it in the morning. But if your schedule is what’s stopping you from practicing it in the morning, don’t worry. You can practice yoga at whatever time of the day as per your convenience but make sure you practice it after at least 2 hours of meals.
Myth no. 7: Asanas + Prananyam = Yoga
Relaxation and yoga – Though it is partly correct, Yoga is much more than Asanas or postures. Postures along with breathing exercises definitely improve your health and lifestyle but they are not the ultimate destination of yoga. “The aim is to have better self understanding and gain self acceptance. There are eight components of Yoga- Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahaar,dharana, dhyaan and samadhi which look into overall lifestyle and even behavior. These aspects have not been focused upon a lot by the teachers but it wrong to reduce yoga to fitness” Meena Joshi strongly believes.
Myth no.8: Learning Yoga is boring
If meditation and postures make you believe that yoga is boring and serious. Then it is not so. You will get plenty of laughs when stretch all you might, you don’t reach the toes. The serious expression on people’s faces while concentrating is also a cause to laugh out loud. In some classes, they have incorporated ‘hasya yoga’ or laughter yoga as part of the yoga classes, it starts with chuckles and giggles and then into belly laughs. It acts very well to reduce stress and break the serious mood.
Now that most of the myths are broken, you can try yoga for better health. Even if it doesn’t lead to immediate weight loss, it is definitely a good way to gain flexibility, fitness, improve immunity and relieve stress.