Yoga is gaining in popularity. According to the Yoga in America Study 2016 (published by Yoga Alliance), the number of people practicing Yoga has increased from 20.4 million in 2012 to 36.5 million in 2016.
According to the Yoga Alliance, regular yoga practice has many benefits, including pain relief, improved flexibility and strength, and stress relief. It also improves breathing, weight control, cardiovascular conditioning, and circulation.
Not all yoga practices are the same. While nearly every variation of this ancient tradition incorporates strength, flexibility, and breathwork to improve mental and bodily well-being, they do not all have the same elements. Yoga has many forms, from restorative, gentle practices to challenging, sweaty workouts.
There are many options for those who want to learn Yoga. If any of these myths about Yoga have kept you from trying it out, don’t listen to them.
I’m not flexibleIt’s not hard to understand why people think that Yoga is just for the flexible. It’s time to do a reality check.
You don’t practice Yoga to be flexible, but rather, you do it to improve your flexibility and mobility. This is what Samantha Clayton explains, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and an International Sports Science Association-certified yoga coach based out of Los Angeles. “We have to begin somewhere. Each pose can be adjusted to suit your flexibility journey.”
All levels of athletes can benefit from Yoga (and stretching). While you may not be able to stretch as far as the Instagram yogis can, your flexibility will increase over time. Clayton, a former Olympic athlete and vice president for worldwide sports performance and Fitness at Herbalife Nutrition, says that most people notice a difference within three to four weeks.
I have back pain
Good news! Backache should not disqualify your application. “Yoga can easily be modified to fit almost any medical condition,” says Samantha Parker. She is a United States Air Force exercise physiologist and a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.
Parker says that if you suffer from glaucoma (a condition that damages the optic neurons in your eyes), it’s essential to avoid lowering your head below your chest. This means you will need to modify some poses.
Parker says that while medical conditions shouldn’t stop you from practicing Yoga, you should consult your doctor if you have any concerns about Yoga’s suitability.
Talk to the instructor about your concerns before class. Your instructor will be able to show you how to modify poses to achieve this. If your instructor is certified as a yoga therapist, they can suggest modifications to suit specific health conditions. Parker says.
I’m worried that the spiritual side will conflict with my religious beliefs
According to the Yoga Alliance, although Yoga is often culturally associated with Hinduism or Buddhism, it does not require a religious belief system. It can be entirely practiced in a secular manner.
Parker says that Yoga promotes peace and purpose, which some people associate with spirituality. If that’s different from your thing, look for classes and instructors that focus on the physical aspect of Yoga.
Yoga is for Women
According to the Yoga in America 2016 study, women make up the majority of yoga practitioners — 72 percent versus 28 percent –but the health benefits of Yoga are available to anyone interested in fitness.
Clayton says that Yoga can help everyone achieve better joint mobility, range of motion, and core stability. He says these benefits benefit both men and women in achieving their performance goals, whether in weightlifting, running, or any other sport. Yoga also promotes reasonable postural and muscular control and engages many smaller stabilizing muscles.
Yoga is just glorified stretching
You will stretch a lot during Yoga, but it’s about more than flexibility and mobility. Strengthening your muscles is another benefit. Clayton says that many exercises involve using your body weight to resist. This can increase muscular strength and endurance.
A 12-week yoga program published in June 2015 by the journal evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine improved flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, and endurance among healthy adults.
I don’t have much spare time for Yoga
Parker is not a squeamish person when it comes to this myth. She says, “You choose to do other things with your time.
She says that there is no minimum or maximum time to practice Yoga. Even short yoga sessions can have benefits, depending on the reason you practice and your desired results. Parker suggests that you can perform a simple yoga flow at your desk to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and alleviate pain. You can also do Sun Salutations for five minutes in the morning and night to achieve these exact results.
Yoga will interfere with other types of training
Yoga’s restorative, strengthening, and meditative qualities make it a great complement to any exercise. Parker explains that if your muscles tighten up, they will also weaken. If you are not flexible, you won’t be able to tap into the full power of your muscles. Yoga helps you perform better at other exercises, such as strength-training or aerobic exercise.
Yoga also gives muscles the relief they need from other activities. Parker says, “most yoga is designed to aid in recovery and healing.”
Parker says the key to finding the best yoga practice is to find one that balances out your other activities. Look for a course in Yoga that emphasizes flexibility and mobility if strength training is the primary focus. Look for a practice of Yoga that helps you gain strength if you spend most of your time on cardio. Consider a therapeutic approach if you follow a rigorous training program for an upcoming event or race.