4 Common Yoga Misconceptions

yoga-confusedQuite often people have experience with one type of yoga but not another, and as such they will base their overall impression of yoga on what they have seen. The truth is that yoga can be very different depending on who you learn it from and how they perceive yoga. Below are some common misconceptions about yoga:

Misconception Number One: Yoga is a form of exercise

True, but so is walking. The truth is that exercise is just the beginning of what yoga is. It is closer to a combination of exercise, physiotherapy, psychology and spirituality all rolled into one. As you come to practice yoga you become more and more mentally and physically strong, and most importantly disciplined. For some people this transcends to a spiritual level because they are so effective at observing their thoughts while meditating.

Misconception Number Two: Yoga is for Hippies

As previously mentioned yoga can be a very spiritual experience; you become good at observing your thoughts and concentrating while practicing, thus focusing on the asanas. You certainly do not have to begin with any spiritual belief, nor is spirituality a required part of a yoga practice. Yoga believes in aligning the body and the mind and the spirit through achieving inner balance. For some people it will be a spiritually freeing experience, for others it will be an effective way of de-stressing and achieving a level of calmness of thought.

Misconception Number Three: Yoga is a fad

There have been quite a number of yoga styles and classes making claims about what yoga can achieve. These are easy to associate with other ‘fad’ exercise crazes.  However yoga is not something new and is based in records and practices that are thousands of years old.

Misconception Number Four: Yoga for weight loss isn’t an effective tactic because it’s too slow to help me lose weight/gain tone etc.

This one is way off the mark, but we have heard from the weight loss industry and trainers that weight loss, and toning our body, is all about hours in the gym and fast high impact exercise. That’s simply not true. Yoga can help with weight loss and in particularly toning for a number of reasons. First the exercises, while low impact and performed either statically or slowly – are still exercises.  While you use them you are using your muscles, and in many cases you are using muscles and muscle groups that regular exercise programs ignore. The second way that Yoga can be of benefit in a weight loss program is that it will increase your mental strength and allow you to be more disciplined with your food consumption. When it comes down to it excess weight is a result of excess eating and not enough physical exercise to burn off those calories. Have you ever noticed how some people can eat donut after donut and not put on any weight at all? It seems unfair, but it’s a natural result of the state of their body. Usually these people will be quite ‘sinewy’ and this muscle allows them to metabolize food faster. That’s the third benefit of yoga in weight loss, as your muscles develop your body will actually become more efficient at consuming foods and processing them into nutrients and waste.

Jill Paschal
Latest posts by Jill Paschal (see all)

By Jill Paschal

Jill Paschal is a yoga teacher who has a genuine love for people. She has a true passion for yoga on and off her mat which results in her compassion for others and all living creatures. Jill lives in Orange County, California with her husband Patelli and their Chihuahua Cookie.