As humans, we naturally categorize things. While the process of creating categories can help us function in our world by processing thoughts, it can also be limiting. We may assume things to be true when they are not and be unwilling to let go of these thoughts. Below are six assumptions that we are tired of hearing about yoga and that we should let go of.
To practice, you need specific clothing and props
As I began to explore yoga, I thought I would need to purchase props such as a mat and clothes like yoga pants to practice. I was hesitant to go to a yoga studio without the basic gear. I thought it would make me appear like a natural, and I’d need it to practice.
Yoga is not something you need to purchase. Clothing should be comfortable and allow you to relax and move. Props like yoga mats and blocks can be helpful, but they are not necessary. Material items do not make you better at yoga – they make you better consumers! Choose items that support your practice. Focus on what is really needed.
There is only one yoga path
There are different paths to yoga – there are different styles, teachers, and yogic philosophies. It is easy to become self-righteous when you discover a style of yoga that you enjoy, and that works for you.
Indeed, yoga resonates differently with each person. Each individual has their yoga practice. Celebrate what you find effective, but be open to other styles, ideas, and experiences.
Yoga is too Slow
Some people have said that they don’t want to try yoga because it’s too slow. Yoga is not for everyone, but the “slowness,” or pace, of a class will vary. Fast-paced vinyasa classes, for instance, will increase your circulation faster than a slower class. This assumption can be problematic because it implies that slower is inferior. In fact, a slower-paced practice is extremely beneficial.
Yoga is not based on science
Many people are hesitant to practice yoga, believing that it’s not supported by science. Yoga was in existence long before modern research and science became the standard for examining how yoga affects our body and mind. Many researchers at established research centers and universities are exploring the benefits of yoga and how it affects our minds and bodies.
Yogis are Calm
It’s a difficult one. Yoga is a practice that everyone does for different reasons – to improve their health, to calm their mind, to increase body awareness, or to feel better. It is easy to imagine a person sitting in the Lotus position and meditating before a sunset when you hear “yogi.” Most people come to yoga in order to better themselves. This process requires hard work and dedication. Yoga can help you achieve a calmer, more relaxed state. However, it might take some time to reach that point.
Yoga is flooded with too many teachers
Yoga teachers and members of the public often tell me that everyone is a yoga instructor. Yoga teacher training is a growing industry that has been gaining popularity since the late 2000s. More yoga teachers are being trained than ever.
On the flip side, more people than ever are practicing yoga, and this means that there is a need for teachers. Every yoga teacher, no matter what style or level of experience they have, has taught me something new to me. There are many yoga teachers and students. Think big.
All of us have our preconceived ideas about what yoga should be and what it means for us. These ideas can make us feel very connected to yoga and sometimes cloud our perception. To avoid limiting yourself on and off your mat, it is important to challenge and reflect upon these beliefs.