Misconception #1: There is a Yoga “Type”
Many current yoga enthusiasts report spending years hearing about the benefits their friends reaped from yoga before they ever considered trying it themselves. Their friends evangelized to them about how great yoga made them feel and how just beginning a practice was enough to make a change in their lives. None of their rave reviews had any effect on them.
These women did not consider themselves to be the “yoga type,” so they disregarded their friends’ comments. They resisted beginners’ courses and their friends’ many invitations to private sessions. Such women say only their own research changed their thinking and blame media influence for their biases.
“Yoga really is for everyone,” says one current yoga enthusiast. “Once I finally made trying yoga a priority, and got over those first several weeks of awkward practice, I started to feel really good. It just clicked. It changed from an external motivation (I felt I ‘should’ try it) to an internal motivation (I wanted to do it).”
Misconception #2: You Must Practice One Form of Yoga
Another misconception among yoga newcomers is that everyone is loyal to one type of yoga practice. With so many different iterations of yoga available (and more appearing every day), some people might find it difficult to meet all of their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs with one practice. Beginners may be overwhelmed by the number of choices available, not to mention the number of poses within each practice. A beginner might get comfortable with one type of yoga and feel the need to move on to another type of yoga for a greater challenge. All of these things are fine. There is infinite flexibility in yoga practice. Nobody needs to commit to practicing one version only or sticking to one form for any set length of time before checking out another that might be a better fit.
Misconception #3: Yoga is a cult.
There’s something about all the colorful, form-fitting clothes, the matching mats, the chanting, the incense – it’s not a big jump for some people to believe that yoga is a cult. Yoga is not a cult. It’s just that some people who are into yoga are really into yoga. When people are really into something, they want to share it with people – as many people as possible.
In our cynical times, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that people want to share things simply because you believe it’s fantastic. But for many people, yoga is not only an exercise, it is also a kind of a philosophical approach to life. While some people approach yoga classes this way, that does not mean that you have to approach it that way as well. You don’t even have to say the chants or meditate. You can just kind of hang out and close your eyes. Nobody will even notice.