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Yoga for Beginners: Know Your Cobra and Cow

Nov 20, 2019 | 10m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Common myths about yoga and the corresponding truths
  • Gain insight on practice and postures that are best suited for you
  • The different styles of yoga and what they involve
  • Yoga as a holistic practice that enhances physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being


Common Myths Around Yoga

Today, there are more than 300 million yoga practitioners worldwide, and it has become a multi-million dollar industry. The popularity of yoga has reached an unprecedented height, and we find that there are more styles and practitioners than ever before. 

The word 'yoga' stems from the ancient Sanskrit language which means 'to bind' or to unite. It's the unity of your individual self with your highest potential. Yoga finds its roots in India's classical traditions. Some of the practices are more than 3000 years old. Teachers and yoga texts guide us and help us navigate the path, like maps that show us where we want to go!

Just a century ago, women were not encouraged to do yoga, and the practice wasn’t as easily accessible to people outside of India. Yoga is not only for Indians, and neither is it for a particular group of people. Yoga is not a one size fits all practice. There’s something that suits everyone.

Do you think you are too old to start yoga? Or you are not cut out for the “yogi lifestyle”? Think again. There is no cookie-cutter profile of a yoga practitioner. You can start yoga at any age, young or old. It is not about flexibility either. One of the most common myths about yoga is that you have to be very flexible. But that’s not true.  

Ever heard of yoga being too girly? If you have ever practiced the downward facing dog for more than a minute, arm balances or backbends, you’ll know that it’s harder than it looks. It will make you sweat. Take a class and you will see.

Can yoga help you lose weight? Unfortunately, this isn’t true. You may reach your ideal optimal weight by gaining or reducing a few kilos, but the objective here isn’t weight loss. It can, however, help you tone up, reduce tightness and leave you feeling good.

Do you have to be a vegetarian or give up alcohol? Definitely not, though it is natural that many people want to give up alcohol or decide to be a vegetarian along their health journey. Yoga is not a religion. While yoga comes from India, it is open to everyone and does not require you to change your faith or convert into something else. While chanting sounds are used in yoga to focus and concentrate, it’s perfectly fine to not chant OM.

There is no yoga look that Instagram seems to suggest. You don’t need fancy gear to do yoga. Branded clothes, expensive props, and designer mats may be fashionable, but they aren’t necessary at all. Think simple, functional, and comfortable. Come in your PJs if you feel like you stretch best in them!

Yoga is more than just asanas. Traditionally, the postures or asanas are only one eighth of the entire equation. Ethics, moral disciplines, breathing techniques, and meditation are also involved. To be asana-obsessed is to make it a skewed practice. This is why it is so important to find a good teacher. While you can learn from a book, a good teacher is crucial in helping to guide your progress. A teacher is indispensable particularly if you need therapeutic assistance or wish to customise your learning to better suit your needs.

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