Top 5 Myths about YOGA

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7 Ways to Better Yoga Practice
4th September 2015
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Top 5 Myths about YOGA

YogaMyths

Krishna Raju, ShuddhiYoga


There is a lot of buzz around Yoga in recent years, and more now after UN declared June 21st as International Yoga Day! The good news is that Yoga is finding more followers and thereby benefactors. Yoga in its full sense is “ways to realise the self”. However, for the sake of this discussion, lets only consider yoga the way vast populations are using it as : practice of certain āsanas - postures, prānāyāma - regulated breathing and dhyāna - meditation. Just like around other disciplines many myths surround yoga too. Research has shown contrary evidence, but well myths are made-up stories and mankind has always loved to tell and hear stories. Further, the region where you live in or the exposure you have to Yoga practitioners and centres will determine which myths you have heard more. I have lived primarily in South Indian cities and also spent time in the Americas and East Asian countries. Here are my top 5 picks.

1. Results take too much time

This is the most common myth about Yoga. Lets look at cognitive performance first. Researchers from the University of Illinois reported that a single 20 minutes basic Hatha Yoga session significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of ability to maintain focus and on working memory. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Such research efforts around the world continue to prove the immediate and prolonged effects of yoga practice. Yoga practice complimented by a healthy diet is a perfect regimen for weight management and maintaining a toned body. There is enough research evidence suggesting that fat loss can be achieved by both prolonged low intensity as well as high intensity workouts. There are Yoga routines to engage in both types of workouts. So weight loss or toning can surely be achieved in quick time.

2. Yoga is for women

Women still outnumber men in Yoga classes though the ratio is less alarming in recent years. For some reason, most men would like to hit the gym and believe that Yoga is for women, and not really a masculine exercise system. But all practitioners realise how much strength and muscle endurance yoga has helped them develop. Interestingly enough, a good number of guys who sustain gym or other sport injuries rehabilitate through Yoga and many never go back to lifting weights. Surely, just practicing Yoga alone doesn't get you a body suitable to win a bodybuilding title or become a wrestler or weightlifter. Many male professional rugby, football, basketball, runners, cyclists and athletes use Yoga as a complimentary work out to train physically and mentally to optimise performance. So clearly Yoga is as good for tough men as it is for women!

3. Yoga is slow and boring

There is so much to Yogic sciences, that one lifetime is too less a time to explore, share, experiment and live it. The Astanga Vinyasa Style of Yoga consists of dynamic flows and synchronised breathed which is aerobic in nature. Postural Yoga alone has so many styles or approaches like classical Hatha Yoga ,Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Yin Yoga … For that matter, just incorporating a couple of the eight steps of Astanga Yoga into one’s life alone can open up dimensions we never thought existed!

4. One has to start early

You could start practicing Yoga practice at practically any age. There are more than a handful of practices to suit anyone. Yes, it is true that advanced postures require strength, flexibility , balance and dedicated practice. But to reap physical health and mental well being benefits from Yoga, getting into the most difficult poses is not necessary. In fact Yoga being a contemplative body-mind practice, could be a great support tool for the elderly compared to purely physical exercises. During the years when various ailments and feeling of loneliness sets in, mindful yoga practice brings a general sense of well being.

5. Injury Free Practice

In Postural yoga you do not lift more than your own body weight. Far lesser injuries are reported from Yoga practice compared to weight training, machines based workouts, or other sports in general. However, you could very well sustain injuries while practicing yoga. Trying to push the body beyond its current abilities, or overworking a particular body part may result in fractures, muscle tears etc. While practicing balancing asanas, you could very well fall down and hurt yourself. So slowly working your way up must be the approach. The same applies to regulated breathing practices. Guided practice, more importantly when one is new is recommended. Improper practice could adversely affect nervous system and functioning of internal organs.
Pick up your mat and start practicing ! Wish you all “the very best” with your Yoga practice !! OM

The author Krishna Raju is founder of ShuddhiYoga, an initiative to bring practical, affordable health programs based on Yogic Sciences to everyone.

e-mail : krishna@shuddhiyoga.com

Facebook : Facebook/KrishnaRaju

Phone : 91 9845105079

Krishna Raju
Krishna Raju
Founder Director of ShuddhiYoga. Practices and teaches classical, authentic, practical, sustainable Yogic practices.

22 Comments

  1. Madhusudan says:

    Nice article… myths clarified in a better way… useful for many people who have these myths in their mind.

  2. Aruna says:

    Great article!!

  3. Krishna says:

    Great article to demystify Yoga, very well articulated!

  4. Srividya says:

    Thanks for sharing this Krishna..really helps clear all myths related to yoga

  5. Allan Louie says:

    I personally practise Yoga for health and meditative purposes. I agree with this article, especially points like, it takes very less time to feel the betterment in health after Yoga practices. A very insightful article.

  6. Aravind says:

    Myths are getting clarified!!

  7. आनंद ही आनंद says:

    Good article …!!!
    Coming to Bangalore next week will attend couple of sessions…

  8. आनंद ही आनंद says:

    How long it take to adjust yaga.. the moment I start.. next day it becomes stiff for me to do my regular work…its just because I am too old for starting yoga…??~

  9. Arun Patre says:

    krishna, could you elaborate your thoughts on the association of yoga to do with hinduism but is meant as a way of life?

  10. Deepak says:

    Krishna,
    Point # 5 was a myth I had.
    Can’t recollect having read about myths of yoga for a long time.

    Good luck.

    Deepak

  11. HARI says:

    Dear Guruji…!!
    ur msg is a good fruit to this moderate world,
    well now , I’m also interested in knowing , not only body & mind culture but the Soul, and how yoga can be a holistic approach..!!
    And the exercises linking the Spiritual development & and the miracles beneath to experience & its Wonders..!!

  12. Great article which would definitely serve its purpose of clearing some pre conveived notions about Yoga. Am glad that I have already taken my first step to wards my Shuddhi.

  13. Santosh Chhabria says:

    Very good one..easy way to clarify things on yoga..keep writing :)

  14. Dr Ravi Kaushik says:

    Very good article . Many people’s wrong notions wil be clarified with your writing . I myself had some doubts before starting yoga regularly since 4 years . But now its a part and parcel of my daily routine ….

  15. Sambi reddy says:

    Really helpfull. Clarified many doubts.

  16. Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam says:

    Absolutely true . Krishna, you very well captured the top 5 myths of yoga. Most of them whom I have known and seen have always thought that Yoga as something which will give slow results .. But thats the biggest myth of all. The Power of yoga can transform individuals and make them a positive, vibrant and enthusuasistic individuals as they practice.. Thank you for sharing – appreciate it

  17. Venu says:

    Good article Krishna.

  18. Krishna Raju says:

    Namaste Anand! Level of flexibility is very person dependent. However, as I mention in this article ,there is no specific age to start Yoga. Persistent practice for a few weeks will yield noticeable difference on flexibility. Best of luck !

  19. Krishna Raju says:

    Namaste Arun! At the time (5000 years or more back), when Yoga started being taught and documented , Hinduism was the only known religion in Indian subcontinent. So there clearly is a link between hinduism and Yoga at a very broad level. But at a physical and mental level(asanas,pranayama,bandhas,kriyas etc..) is being practiced by people of all faiths around the world. Mantra Yoga will have references to Hindu gods, so practitioner can make a choice. Thanks for writing in ! May Yoga enrich your life and our societies.

  20. Vinod Patil says:

    Very nice article and really helpful to all of us.

  21. Myths well busted…please keep writing. … I got a brief intro to yoga as part of my education at my alma mater… 9 years we had a subject excluding hatha.. I truly believe yoga is not an additional activity for a day but the preamble itself for the day.

  22. Rajeshwari says:

    Good article sir, very well explained

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