5 Misconceptions about Yoga & 10 Refreshing Truths
Many people have misconceptions about yoga that hold them back from experiencing the many health benefits.
I wonder if you’ve ever thought any of the following?
5 common misconceptions about yoga
To be good at yoga you need to get your body into a particular (often challenging) shape.
Yoga is doing a sequence of postures, often at a fast pace.
The use of props is a sign of weakness or certainly isn’t encouraged.
Yoga is not as good for you as cardiovascular exercise.
You need to be thin, young, flexible, or able-bodied to do yoga well.
These common misconceptions or beliefs lead many people to question whether yoga is right for them. Especially if they have felt this way through a bad experience of going to a class.
Just recently a woman in her seventies asked if I’d be delivering classes for people her age. She said she no longer had the more energetic body she had when younger. When I delved deeper, it became apparent that she was concerned about fast-paced athletic yoga classes full of younger and more flexible bodies.
I can see why she thought this. You only have to Google yoga and the majority of articles and photos nurture this image.
However, things are changing. More and more people are moving away from the Western watered-down fitness version of yoga. There are styles of yoga for everybody.
10 refreshing truths about yoga
Embracing the following truths about yoga has enabled me to develop a wonderful daily self-care practice and feel better than I’ve felt in years.
Yoga postures are only one aspect of yoga– thousands of years ago there were no postures in yoga. Originally it was mediation and breathing. In fact, yoga postures (asanas) are one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Others include ethics, breathing, meditation, turning inward, concentration, and union, or integration.
The ultimate intention of yoga is connection – developing a deeper connection to yourself and to source (love, the universe, or god). Postures are just one way to facilitate this connection. Meditation or breathing are other strategies.
Focus on intention– enabling your body to experience the intention of each posture is far more important than being able to get your body into a particular shape. So too is having fun and embracing curiosity as you explore the best way for your body wants to experience yoga.
Work with your body – your body shape, skeletal structure, and muscles could enable or restrict your ability to ever get into certain postures. However, physical limitations don’t mean you can’t do yoga. It simply means learning how to tailor postures to the specific body you have. Personally, this has been a huge relief. I’ve enjoyed adapting asanas in response to scoliosis (sideways curve in my spine), challenges with my lower back, and the angle of my hip sockets.
Use props – the use of props (e.g. blocks, chairs, walls, cushions, straps) makes yoga postures more accessible no matter what our body shape, level of fitness, or physical limitations. They also enable us to practice yoga more safely and are useful to develop more strength, balance, and flexibility. I encourage the use of props in all my classes.
There are many physical benefits of practicing yoga as we age– when practiced regularly it can increase your flexibility, mobility, strength, bone density, strength, and brain function.
Slow mindful yoga is as important as cardiovascular exercise – some go as far as saying that slow mindful yoga is a more advanced skill than quicker styles of yoga through which you rarely pause long enough to notice what’s going on in your body as you do each posture.
Consider yoga is an ‘innercise’ rather than an exercise – yes of course there are physical benefits to practicing yoga regularly as I’ve already mentioned. But it’s the inner transformation that starts to happen when you practice yoga regularly that is more magical, especially when this translates into how it changes how you approach every day.
Not all postures are suitable for everyone – many postures have contradictions and are suitable for all health conditions. If you a health condition or injury, always seek medical advice before doing yoga. Also always let your yoga teacher know so they can help you adapt or practice alternative postures. I never understood the importance of this until I became a teacher.
- There are many styles of yoga – nowadays there are many styles of yoga. Try out a few different styles and teachers until you find what resonates with you. I used to like cardio styles of yoga such as Ashtanga Yoga. But I now much prefer the slower-paced styles such as Gentle Hatha Yoga, Subtle Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Yoga Nidra. That’s why I’ve chosen to teach classes that are a blend of these styles.
Knowing this, are you ready to let go of your misinterpretations about yoga? Are you tempted to give it a try?
If you’re a woman over forty who resonates with what I share and wants to experience the many benefits of slow mindful yoga, check out my classes below–no matter what your shape, size, or ability.
If you’re new to yoga or have limited experience, you may find it beneficial to first join my beginner’s online yoga course. By completing the course you’ll learn all the basics you need to feel confident practicing yoga at home or at a class. Find out more <HERE>.
I’d love to hear about your experiences of yoga and what you think. Please do comment below.
Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to improve the lives of 100,000 people–by making it easier for women over forty to thrive, make the most of life, and have more impact in the world.
Alisoun’s personal support, online group programs, mentoring, talks, and best-selling books Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success and Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves travelling, exploring, and living by the beach in Scotland.
Alisoun is has written the following free resources:
- Ebook: 101+ Ways to Create a Joyful Life of Meaning, Vitality, and Impact – click here.
- Ebook: 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business – click here
- Ebook: 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact – click here
You can connect with Alisoun here:
accessible yoga, beginners yoga, childfree, childlessness, compassion, female leaders, hatha yoga, heart-centered, impact, intention, involuntarily childless, Meaning, meaningful life, PURPOSE, purpose of life, restorative yoga, retreats, slow mindful yoga, subtle yoga, successful woman, Wanderlust, wellbeing, without children, woman, women over 40, women over 50, women over forty, womenpreneurs, yin yoga, yoga, yoga for women, yogaover40, yogaover50