5 Most Common Myths About Yoga

by Nancy Wile last updated -

Yoga is a spiritual practice that has been improving mankind’s overall health for more than 15,000 years. In fact, yoga is a logical answer to many health and fitness concerns.  However, it can’t be denied that there are many myths about yoga that one should not believe in.

For example, some people believe that yoga is a religious practice. There are people who believe that they will develop gym-like muscles with yoga. Other people believe that yoga can help them achieve 360-degree flexibility. And there are many who are looking forward to becoming effective yogi by learning just from yoga books.

Well, all of these are baseless misconceptions about yoga. Believing such myths can even deny you from the benefits of yoga. That’s why it is important to clear off all these falsehoods.

A picture of two women doing yoga around a water body

Yoga is a holistic approach to improve your overall health. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Myths About Yoga

To open your eyes, here I have rounded up the most common yoga myths along with the facts.

Yoga Builds Muscles

This is one of the greatest misconceptions about yoga.

While yoga can improve your fitness and flexibility, it may not help you build six pack abs or ripped muscles. If you are looking to build muscles, opt for the gym or weight training for meeting this fitness goal. This is because yoga is not a forceful muscle building practice like curling, pressing or lifting. It is a holistic approach to improve your overall health. It should be practiced in a gentle and subtle way. [1]

Only Flexible People Can Do Yoga

From yoga magazine covers to website articles, you will come across the images of very flexible and well-defined yogis performing the poses. Therefore, you must have assumed that yoga is meant only for fit and strong bodies. Right?

But this is nothing but a sheer misconception about yoga. Whether you are a thin, thick, old, young, tall or short, anyone can do yoga. Keep in mind that flexibility and fitness are the results of yoga, not its requirements. Yoga helps you build strength, flexibility, and balance. It is for everyone, no matter what shape or strength level you bring to the practice. [2]

You Should Be Able To Do All Yoga Poses

The consistent practice will improve all of the soft tissues, letting your body to perform the postures easily. This way, you are rewarded with balance, agility, flexibility, strength, and balance. But that doesn’t mean one can do all yoga poses. Your limitations will be determined by how deep a backbend will go, or if the hips can get into lotus pose. Everyone has got a different spine. Many people have very thick posterior substances in their low back, limiting them to do transitions like dropbacks. The shape of the hip socket and the head of the femur bone also play a key role in the rotation or transition.

The shoulder may limit your postures to a certain degree, especially if you require large amounts of external rotation to grab a foot.

Yoga is a useful tool to improve one’s flexibility and strength. With consistency, you can master the pose that seems difficult in the earlier stages. But it is important to respect the limits of your body or you may end up with injuries in order to achieve full variations of all postures at once.

Yoga Has Originated From Religion

Yoga is often thought of as a form of Hinduism. This is because of its roots back to ancient India where it was practiced by sadhus or monks. But it is more a spiritual practice than a cult. Even it is thought of as science than a religious belief or ideology in India.

Yoga is like a laboratory where you are both the subject and the object of your experiment with the aim to activate your “inner self” and promote divinity within. The mantras or chants like “Om” are used to stimulate the state of consciousness within you. Simply put, it is a practice of “self-awakening”, not worship or the renouncement of a certain religion.

You Can Learn Yoga From Books

How to Become Yogi in a Month?

Learn Yoga in Easy Steps!

Asanas for Everyday Life!

Well, these are the stereotype yoga book titles you can find in any bookstore.

But do you think yoga is a self-taught practice?

I personally think it is not. It is not like learning a guitar by yourself.

If you try to practice it by learning from books, you will either end up with injuries or not do the things right.
Therefore, it should be done under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. Keep in mind that yoga is a science and complex art as well. While a book can be a great source of inspiration to do yoga, it is not a good way to learn things like yoga.

So these are the myths about yoga you shouldn’t believe anymore. It is important to have the right outlook towards yoga to see the maximum benefits.

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About the Author

Nancy Wile is an advanced yoga teacher and the founder of Yoga Education Institute. She does her best to help all her students find a sense of ease and mindfulness in each posture that they can then incorporate into their lives. Nancy wants all her students to come as they are and have fun, and know that everything they need is right there inside of them.

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