You’ve got the mat, you’ve got the kit and you’ve followed a bunch of yogis on Instagram (because that’s how every yogi looks right?)… Now all you need to do is go to your first yoga class. From the outside, a yoga studio can seem to be an intimidating place where everyone talks in hushed tones, people sit with their legs behind their heads and incense wafts out the door. Once you get through the door however, a yoga studio can become a place of solitude, peace and personal gain – we just have to dispel those myths first!
1. I’m not flexible enough for yoga!
The most common misconception is that you have to be flexible to do yoga. Not at all. Yoga is for every-BODY. Regardless of age, gender, fitness level or flexibility, yoga is about breathing in each asana (pose) not how high you can lift your leg.
2. Yoga is for my mom/sister/girlfriend
Far from it! Guys can certainly benefit from yoga and you can even find men-only classes popping up too.
3. Yoga is just stretching on a mat
Depending on the type of yoga you opt for, it can range from a highly energetic 90 minutes of continuous flow, to the more restorative and meditative. Do your research and you’ll find the class that suits you.
4. I used to be a dancer / gymnast / gym bunny, it’ll be easy
It’s common to think that having a background in dance or fitness makes you good at yoga, but in truth there’s usually a whole lot of unlearning to be done and a new technique to be learnt. Be realistic and don’t walk before you can run.
5. Yoga is about religion
There has been much debate about this, more than can fit in one blog post, but whilst yoga originated in the temples of Hindu monks, there are plenty of classes in the West that do not mention religion at all. Yoga is practiced across the world by Christians, Muslims, atheists and Hindus alike for its other benefits such as a deeper connection to oneself, stress reduction and overall fitness.
6. I’m going to have to chant
Not all studios, instructors and yoga styles opt for the chanting of ‘Om’ and the beginning or end of the practice. It might take trial and error to find your perfect class, and this might be one of the deciding factors. Also, you do not have to chant if you don’t want to. It won’t make you a bad yogi, just breathe, hum, or stay completely silent.
Try lots of different studios, classes and teachers before you decide if yoga is for you. Most studios do an introductory offer to new clients and that’s a great way to getting the vibe of the place – don’t be afraid to admit that the studio your friend, colleague or cousin likes isn’t for you! Yoga has to be individual and you have to be in it for you. Namaste.