Misconceptions about yoga

Yoga is becoming increasingly popular and with its boom comes some confusion. Read about the most common misconceptions about yoga and learn how to avoid being too harsh on yourself. Sometimes we might feel like going with the flow but is that always the right thing for us to commit to?

Yoga is not about comparing your body

Yes, you are reading that right. I know it might be very tempting to start comparing what your body can do to what other people’s bodies are capable of. However, that is not what yoga is or should be about. Yoga is about finding comfort within your body and learning where its capabilities are. 

It is not going to hurt to have a goal or a role model, something you can aspire to throughout your practice. But don’t allow your thoughts to slander yourself if you cannot hold a handstand or balance on your left foot yet. 

Understanding and appreciating your body can actually move you closer to your goal faster than you would think. By listening to your body you will learn about its strengths as well as weaknesses and you can then work with those. 

Learn to have faith in your and in the process. 

Don't beat yourself if progress takes longer

Progress is an interesting term as it is difficult to measure it objectively. Yet, we are all mostly mesmerized by it. While for some people progress can be touching their fingertips to the ground, for others it’s placing their palms parallel to their feet. Therefore, in order to map your journey and measure progress you will need to find out what it means for you.

Are you going to be more focused on physical achievements or on how you feel within your body in a certain asana? Is the goal for you to find peace or do you strive to strengthen your body? One of the common misconceptions about yoga is that we should be able to enter a specific shape or asana in order to be considered a yogi. Well, that is not right. Every body works with a different body structure, which is unique. Therefore, for me it might be technically impossible to wrap my legs around each other while I might be able to sport an almost perfect wheel pose. While for  somebody else pincha might not be an option due to a former shoulder injury.

You might want to attend some classes and explore the practice a little bit before setting milestones. Then, maybe it will help you if you keep a diary, take videos or photos and challenge yourself. However, never forget to be mindful and don’t push your body to places it does not have the ability to go to, yet.

*Pinch is an Asana in which we have both forearms on the mat, parallel to each other and we lift our legs and body app. It is a form of a forearm stand. Author’s Note

Yoga is not about how you look

Another no-brainer. Yoga is not about how you look or how you think you look when you are on and off your mat. Yoga is about how you feel. 

Increasingly, we live in an era where we are swamped with photos of yogis who look like perfection itself. Their clothes and equipment are matching and their hair and make-up are on point. Don’t let those photos dictate to you how you should go about practising. Also remember that people often use those photos for marketing purposes. Many yogis are paid or otherwise benefit from posting photos on social media and their actual practice might look different. 

Just recently I saw a yogi, who always has a new pair of leggings in her photo, post about her real practice. And well, she was wearing a nice but simple pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Find what works for you and stick to it. Of course, some days you might feel like you enjoy your practice more when you are all dressed up in your new set. And other days it might feel utterly fantastic to practice in your PJs with your mat still rolled up. 

Always give priority to how you feel. After all, it has been proven that we look better when smiling so it should be of utmost importance to you to find your smile and wear it proudly. 

Yoga is not about hiding from your emotions

Having said that wearing a smile is always a good idea. It is in no way something that you should force on yourselves when you don’t feel like smiling. Yoga is not only about observing and understanding our bodies, but it is also about taking care of our minds and souls. It is, therefore, essential to allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are surfacing. 

Of course, when we are sad, angry, discouraged or hopeless, we might have an inclination to hide behind a curtain within our brain and soul. However, it can sometimes be beneficial to do exactly the opposite. By acknowledging your emotions and drawing that curtain wide open you are allowing yourself to be you. You are accepting and acknowledging your needs as well as your emotions. And by doing so you are learning to accept yourself as you are. By doing so, you are slowly but steadily paving your road to self-love. This can be a long journey and not always easy,  but once you start understanding your emotions and giving them space, you might find a new level of happiness. I am speaking of experience here. I was at a stage in life where everything seemed grey and so I made a conscious choice of changing that. And so I did, finding happiness I never thought I would be capable of feeling. 

Misconceptions about yoga debunked

Spreading the word about misconceptions about yoga is important as sometimes people might feel like they are not really a yogi if they don’t tick some box. It can even go as far as that some people would feel they should not even start practising. The beautiful thing about yoga is, that it is in fact for everyone. Everybody can find that type of yoga, which best works for them. After all, there are so many amazing and inspiring yoga styles and the benefits are countless. If you are thinking of starting but are you not there yet, maybe consider taking baby steps. 

If you know anyone who could benefit from reading this post, feel free to share it with them. To read more of our posts follow: https://www.yogacirce.com/2021/07/08/sustainable-lifestyle/


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