Myth 1: I can’t do yoga – I can’t even touch my toes!
You absolutely don’t need to be flexible to do yoga – in fact, if you aren’t very flexible you might even gain more from a yoga class than a naturally bendy person would!
Having tight muscles are the number one reason you should try yoga and it’s amazing how quickly you can gain flexibility once you get started 🙂 Do you experience back pain? Tight muscles can be a huge contributor to a sore back, so yoga can make a real difference! The combination of lengthening muscles and building an awareness of core strength is a really effective way of reducing aches and pains all over the body.
Finally, if you’re worried about looking silly, please don’t be 🙂 It’s completely normal to come to a yoga class not being able to touch your toes. Once the class gets started everyone is so focused on what they’re doing there’s no way anyone will care (or notice) whether you’re tight or bendy!
Myth 2: Yoga is for women, men can’t do yoga
This is absolutely not true. There is a long list of famous male yogis including David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Adam Levine, Russell Brand and even Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr! If it’s good enough for them, why not give it a try? Lots of athletes also integrate yoga into their training for the long list of benefits it brings such as agility, balance, mental focus as well as strength, flexibility and core stability.
In fact thousands of years ago yoga was first developed as a practice for men as a rigorous form of exercise that was deemed too intense for women! It’s only in the last century that yoga has found its way over to the western world with a strong female following.
Yoga benefits men just as much as women – and given that men tend to be naturally less flexible, they may have even more to gain from a regular yoga practice.
Myth 3: I have a bad back, I can’t do yoga
In a lot of cases yoga can greatly reduce back pain and soreness. Of course if you have a serious condition you should speak to your doctor or specialist before doing any new form of exercise, but for most people learning how to gently stretch and strengthen the appropriate areas can make a huge difference to the health of your back.
If you are new to my yoga classes I will check if you have any health conditions so that I can make sure you only practise poses that are safe for you. Please send me a message if you are unsure if yoga is suitable for you or if you have any other questions 🙂
Yoga is also a great tool for managing back problems as it teaches you to listen to your body and move mindfully. For example, you will learn to notice when you are slouching, when your core is not switched on or when you are putting too much pressure on your lower back so that over time you begin to correct your posture automatically!
Myth 4: You can only do yoga if you’re a vegan who chants and meditates
Ok so there are definitely a lot of yogis (people who practise yoga) who are vegan, who like to chant and who meditate, BUT that doesn’t mean YOU have to do any of those things! Yoga is not an exclusive club for a certain type of person, it is for everyone. Anyone who has a body that could use some stretching and strengthening and a mind that could use some relaxation is a potential yogi.
Myth 5: Yoga isn’t exercise, it’s just stretching
If you think yoga is just stretching, you DEFINITELY need to give it a try. If you need proof that yoga isn’t just gentle stretching and deep breathing, try googling ‘wounded peacock pose’ or ‘scorpion pose’ (yes, some of the names of poses are ridiculous). I’m not saying you would be expected to do anything as advanced as that in my classes (or ever!), but imagine how much strength is required to hold a pose like that? That strength is what we start building from your first class. People have been practising yoga for thousands of years and one of the main reasons people seem to love yoga so much is that it finds a balance between strength and flexibility – two key components to a healthy body and mind 🙂