Ranty McRant – Why Not Yoga?

Common yoga misconceptions really bug me … and that’s not very yogic.  I’ll be honest, if I hear one more person use the excuse “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” I am going to scream.  FYI people, that’s the WORST excuse out there.  Come up with something more creative else I’m dragging your sorry ass to the nearest yoga studio just to prove how wrong you are.

Luckily, I won’t have to because Yoga Alliance has done some of the footwork for me. Yoga Alliance recently released a survey that sheds some light on some of the most common yoga misconceptions.

  • Is religion-based. 57% of those who do not currently practice yoga believe that it requires mantras or chanting related to a form of worship.
  • Requires flexibility in order to practice. Nearly 3 in 5 Americans – 59% of respondents – who do not practice yoga think that it requires a person to be in at least “decent” shape. In truth, however, anyone – of any size, shape or physical state – can benefit.
  • Is not really exercise. Half of men who have never practiced yoga believe it “isn’t a workout.” In contrast, 73% of people who do practice believe it is just as effective as running, swimming or weight lifting.”

Let’s take this point-by-point.

Point 1 – Yoga in a majority of Western studios is not religious, especially if you’re in a yoga class held at a gym.  Studios have a little more freedom/flexibility since their clientel is mostly self-selecting.  Go to a yoga studio and you’re already acknowledging on some level that you can handle the stuff outside of the physical practice.  This stuff can include chanting, mantras, om-ing, etc… Gyms, however, don’t really have that option and have to cater to a much broader clientel.  So, if you’re worried about yoga stepping on your religion or don’t want to be exposed to anything religious/spiritual, get ye to a yoga class at the local gym.

Point 2 – The Flexibility Issue.  Lame lame lame lame lame.  Just stop using this excuse.  It’s as trite and as bad as “the dog ate my homework.”  No one comes into yoga being flexible.  Very few people come to yoga even being in shape.  A majority of people find their way to yoga because a gentle hatha practice is a perfect gateway to becoming healthier and more flexible.  Many people come to yoga after being injured because they are so inflexible or from other lifestyle injuries (bad backs, hips, shoulders, etc…)  So do yourself a favor, drop the lame excuse and either give it a try or find a real reason.

Point 3 – Don’t think yoga’s a real workout?  Lifting and balancing your own body weight for 90 minutes isn’t a challenge?  How about doing that in a room heated to over 85 degrees?  Calories are burned in even the most gentle practice and muscles are built.  Vinyasa and Power Yoga as practiced in most US studios will work every major and minor muscle in your body.  You will feel the burn.  Guaranteed.

So cut the crap and give yoga a try.  If you don’t like it, fine.  At least you tried it.  Yoga doesn’t work for everyone.  Just like everyone’s not a runner or body builder.  But give it a shot.  Who knows … you might just enjoy it.

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3 responses to “Ranty McRant – Why Not Yoga?

  1. I’ve received a lot of parental feedback surrounding the first myth. When I first started working at the school, I was amazed to find out how many parents complain about yoga in the classroom. To make it more ‘user friendly’, some classroom teachers call it ‘stretching’. Nothing else has changed except for the name. *WINK*

  2. Pingback: How to Lie With Statistics | Perusals & Peregrinations

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