Developed over 5000 or more years ago, yoga is a spiritual practice that aims to make you feel better from the inside out. The combination of practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit.
In-depth research has shown that yoga assist in managing and controlling anxiety, arthritis, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. Apart from the above, yoga also:
- Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
- Reduces stress and tension
- Boosts self esteem
- Improves concentration and creativity
- Burns fat
- Improves circulation
- Stimulates the immune system
- Creates and overall sense of well-being.
There are many more health benefits that yoga offers. What’s mentioned above are secondary to yoga's original purpose. The Sanskrit word Yoga literally means both “union” and “discipline”. Due to its complexity, beginners are easily overwhelmed by the vastness and richness of its practice, philosophy and literature. Physical yoga or Hatha yoga, was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of Yoga – namely, the understanding and complete mastery over the mind.
Top 5 Yoga Myths Exposed
1. You have to be flexible to do yoga.
Reality: Flexibility isn’t about being about to touch your toes. What we don’t realize that in this day and age, most people aren’t flexible and it’s through years of not exercising, poor postural form causing misalignment and spending long hours sitting on desks, which in turns stiffens our muscles and joints. Our body is created to move – that is why yoga allows for that to happen as it is a combination of strength, balance and flexibility. Just by showing up on your mat to practice, you’ve already done all the hard work. Start practicing now so you can gain more flexibility plus also improve other areas of your practice.
2. Men don't do yoga.
Reality: Let’s face it! The yoga realm is dominated by women however don’t let it deter you (Men) from giving it a go. Firstly, let’s not forget yoga was started by men and practiced exclusively by men thousands of years ago. In addition, the popularity of yoga amongst men is gradually growing. Male footballers, cyclists and gym fanatics are realizing the importance of adding and combining yoga to their daily routine reaping the physical and mental benefits that it has to offer.
3. Yoga is too expensive.
Reality: It seems like every minute, there’s a new yoga studio popping up in every suburb, street and corner you turn. For those who are unsure, most yoga studios offer introductory packages for new students. At YogaXTC we offer two weeks of unlimited yoga for $50 and unlimited yoga plus two fitness sessions for $90. Plus, there are many affordable online yoga services available and free youTube classes. There’s really no excuse for you to click yes! Remember you can never put a figure on your heath!
4. Yoga is a religion.
Reality: As yoga is built on spirituality and the promotion of being kind and compassionate towards yourself and others. It is not a religion and does not judge others, in fact it is accepting of all religion. If chanting Om strikes you as weird, chant something else, say a prayer (your religion), focus on your breathing or completely opt out and stay present on your mat.
5. Yoga is not a workout.
Reality: There are many different styles of yoga and depending on what you’re after. For those wanting a more vigorous experience, try a power/vinyasa or ashtanga class. This style of yoga will get your heart rate pumping, build strength and burn calories. Be prepared to move and sweat it out.
As yoga offers numerous health benefits, injuries can also occur. Please be mindful to ALWAYS let your teacher know if you’re suffering from any injuries so they can provide you with a more accessible option. So we can all have fun together and practice in a safe environment. Namasté.
Content by Christine and Kelvin.
Photographs by David Au.