5 Things We Need To Clear Up About Yoga

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The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’, highlighting its holistic nature and focus on the connection between body, mind and spirit. Once you start to delve into the theory around yoga practice, you begin to realise that it goes far beyond trendy yoga studios and bendy Insta pics! 

1. The physical practice is only one small aspect of yoga

During my own training, our Master Yoga trainers all made a similar comment: that they would much rather teach someone who stays in child’s pose throughout the whole class and is tuning into their mind/body connection, compared to someone who is mindlessly pushing themselves through all the movements but focusing purely on the physical aspect.

The idea behind the physical practice of yoga is to tune into how the body is feeling and to practice mindfulness, connecting the physical practice with the mind. While there are certainly physical benefits to be gained, yoga can offer much more than this.

2. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga!

“I would love to try yoga but I’m not flexible enough” is one of the most common statements I hear from people who have little experience with the practice. “Noooo”, I insist whenever I hear this statement, “anyone can do yoga!”. It’s true, flexibility is something that can be improved through the practice of yoga, but it certainly isn’t a requirement to start practicing! 

3. MYTH ALERT!: Yoga is “easy”

Anyone doing yoga correctly would know that this is a total misconception! There are so many different styles of yoga, and each style comes with different opportunities for self-improvement, both mentally and physically. 

In saying this, don’t be put off and think it’s ‘too hard’ either. The beauty is that we can all go at a pace that suits us individually, and improve on certain challenges in our own time. Knowing when to work hard and when to take it easy is key.

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4. There is no such thing as being the ‘best’ in the class

There is no pressure to ace every movement/pose in a class, and I can guarantee the teacher is not judging or disappointed if you can’t do a headstand! Yoga is all about doing what feels right in your body. A yoga teacher should never push students to move in a way that doesn’t feel right. They should always encourage the class to listen to their body and give the option of resting at any time. If you feel that you need to take a breather for whatever reason, get into your preferred position* and do just that! If you learn to listen to your body and do this, you’re doing yoga right!

*Common poses to rest in include Downward Dog and Child’s Pose. 

5. You don’t need to spend a fortune to be a yogi

Wearing groovy leggings and a singlet with a motivational slogan to a yoga class can be a fun routine for some people, but it is most definitely not a requirement. Any loose, comfortable clothing that you can find lying around the house will be just as suitable!

Another beauty of yoga is that it can be done anywhere – seriously, anywhere! While group classes are amazing and definitely recommended as they have their own benefits (guidance from the trainer, a feeling of connection etc.), not everyone can afford to go three times a week. Why not try going just once a week and then for the rest of the week practice in the comfort of your own lounge room or at the park? 

Article written by Rebecca Benini

yogaJulia Leong