Updated: Jan 27
The perceptions of yoga and the myths of yoga. For example “I’m not bendy or flexible enough to do yoga” Ahh that definitely is a common misconception of yoga. 1. Yoga isn’t for everyone? Myth Busted: Yoga is for everyone. Small or large people, black or white skin, blonde or brown hair, male or female. Anyone can do it. You can do yoga anywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a posh expensive yoga studio, it can be in your own home, outside on the grass in a park or your garden, or even on the beach with the sand between your toes. It may hurt a little if you practiced on Brighton beach which is full of pebbles. That’s where I’m from. But by all means give it a go. 2. Not many calories are burned during a yoga practice? Myth Busted: Well that depends on which type of yoga you are going to be doing. If you are into a slow meditative type then that would be Hatha yoga. This will usually burn around 150-190 calories per hour. A Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga class which is using the power and strength of your muscles to perform each set of sequences and postures will burn up to 351 calories per hour. If you love heat about 106degrees for one and a half hours then Bikram yoga is for you which will burn around 477 calories per hour. So you can see that actually yoga is a very good form of calorie burning although a lot of people do not do yoga for the weight loss. We do it because we love the strength, the self-discipline, and the meditative aspects of yoga. So in terms of other forms of exercise swimming burns 800 calories an hour if doing fast front crawl, Cycling burns 480 calories per hour if cycling 10-12mph, Running at 6-8mph burns 600-800 calories per hour.
3. Running or other sports are better for you than yoga? Myth Busted: Running is a very high impact sport to take up and I had to give it up after about 5 years of running and pounding the pavements of Hove seafront. My hips just didn’t like it anymore as there is so much pounding and pressure placed onto all of your joints. I was in a lot of pain and ended up going to see my chiropractor every 3 months to be realigned. So that’s why I took up yoga. It is very much a low impact sport as there is no jolting of joints. It’s just stretching all your muscles and learning to breathe correctly in a relaxed and friendly environment. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to run but I know my body can’t hack it anymore. Yoga is used to support long term rehabilitation programmes to. This allows the person who has had a severe accident or long term illness to be able to practice in a sport which is very low impact and will get the muscles working again after probably a long time spent in a hospital bed. I know Bear Grylls (my favourite adventurer) broke his spine when he was in the SAS and had an accident parachuting, He practiced yoga every day to get better and he still practices yoga today.
4. Yoga is not really a sport? Myth Half Busted: Yoga is most definitely a sport as well as a way of life. Most people in the western world tend to do yoga as a fitness sport but in India which is where the origin of yoga first began thousands of years ago they see it as a way of life. They meditate every day and yes a lot of westerners do as well. People see yoga as a discipline and practice every day.
5. Yoga is just for girls? Myth Busted: Yoga is for anyone. Men and women although the perception of a yoga class for many people is a class full of bendy ladies, thin, blond, amazing bodies. No that definitely is not the case. I teach all sorts of people. Large, thin, tall, small, round, wobbly bits, men and women. Yoga is definitely not just for girls. I used teach a group of boxers every Wednesday evening after their boxing session. They are all completely different. They all have very tight shoulders and tight legs of which yoga really helps them. I teach them for half an hour after their boxing class just too warm down and stretch. We start off with Cat and Cow poses and then 3 rounds of Sun Salutations to get the spine and muscles of the body warmed up, even though they are quite warmed up already from their previous class. They can relax after their hard boxing class. They have a totally different view of yoga compared to other people and they really do enjoy it. It’s the whole perception of yoga. So when you think of a person practising yoga, what do you think of? Is it of a thin, attractive, blond haired lady who bends in all different directions? A hippie guy with dreads doing the lotus pose? Is it people who are in their 20s who just love showing off that they can get into an amazing pose you will only ever dream of? You are thinking about the stereotypical people who practice. Yes yoga does have these but only very occasionally and it’s only about 1% of people in a class. Some men are nervous to turn up to a class full of ladies. We need more men in our classes. We need more to come to experience the wellness and strength and flexibility of how yoga makes you feel. My classes are definitely not the Indian way of yoga, where there are a lot of Om’s. My classes are fun and uplifting and a definite workout for the whole body. Yoga also has a perception of being very breath orientated, of which yes some classes are but you just have to find the right class for you. Some men come with their wife’s and practice together. I love that idea as my husband and I always worked out together. I love the fact you can push each other and help each other out. It’s also something you can both do together. Some men feel a real sense of achievement when they have done a class. They can really feel the benefits straight away. Any man can do yoga. You don’t have to be supple or flexible. Yoga would be great for the typical builder types. They have very tight shoulders are strong and so yoga would be great for stretching and relaxing.
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