Debunking Some Myths About Yoga
“To see the unity in diversity is yoga—to see the same consciousness in everyone.”
— Swami Satchidananda
People gravitate towards yoga for so many different reasons: fitness, spirituality, mindfulness, curiosity, building a more balanced inner life… There is so much to be gained from a yoga practice for anyone who feels drawn to it, but there are some myths about yoga’s accessibility that can prevent people from starting or continuing a practice—
Myth #1—I’m not flexible enough.
Every body is different. One style or class may be more available to you than another, so try exploring different options to find one that suits your body’s needs. Talk to your teacher before class starts— they can help you make any needed adjustments in asanas to make a practice more accessible.
One of the benefits of yoga is increased flexibility. That doesn’t mean that you already need to be flexible in order to practice! It can be intimidating to show up to a class and feel like everyone around you is probably more flexible than you are, but everyone is coming from a different physical place, and also, a continued practice helps build flexibility. Your practice will look and feel like your own practice, not like anyone else’s. If you feel like you aren’t flexible enough to do yoga, try it anyway! Notice how your flexibility changes a little bit each time you show up on the mat.
(Check out Keene Yoga Center’s “Yoga For Beginners” page for more information on some of the other benefits of yoga)
Myth #2—I have to belong to a particular spiritual background to practice yoga.
Yoga practitioners (students and teachers) come from many unique spiritual backgrounds. Some classes you go to will incorporate spiritual elements, like chanting, but many do not. Every class has a different energy, and every teacher has a different approach. If you find yourself in a class that incorporates a spiritual element that’s unfamiliar to you, feel free to participate or to observe, as you feel comfortable. This “out of the box” experience is part of what makes a yoga practice so special, but your practice is your own, and you don’t need to feel pressured to participate in anything that doesn’t feel right to you.
Myth #3—Mostly women practice yoga; if I’m a man showing up to a yoga class, I’ll feel out of place.
Not necessarily! People of all genders practice yoga, and every class you go to will have a unique assortment of people in attendance, depending on who decided to show up to that particular class. If you feel drawn to yoga, then yoga is for you! And you can always bring a friend with you for extra support and community— KYC memberships include one free guest pass. No matter your background, Keene Yoga Center provides a welcoming environment to begin or to deepen your practice.