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Friday, January 22, 2010

Breaking Through the Yoga Myths

I wanted to start a series of blogs that deal with the many misconceptions about yoga that may keep people from harnessing the benefits of this ancient practice that has never been more important. I have been teaching yoga for over ten years and have heard all of the excuses, well many of them. I have also seen a very serious misunderstanding of the scope and depth of yoga become the norm. So, without further adieu let's beginning Busting the Myths of Yoga.

Yoga Myth #1 - I'm Not Flexible

Not to sound cruel but this is the most ridiculous yoga myth and the most popular. This is like saying to the cleaning lady, "No! I don't want help cleaning my house...it's too dirty". Flexibility is a bi-product of practicing yoga and definitely a contributor to a younger, healthier body. Maintaining a healthy, flexible spine will ensure that you are able to continue doing the things you enjoy much longer into your life. If you consider yourself to be "not flexible" then find a yoga class and Just Do It! I know that Nike has changed their tag-line and they may change it a hundred times but they will never find a better one.

There are two other things that come to mind for this myth. First, there are many different yoga teachers with a variety of backgrounds, experience and intentions. I have seen many so-called Power Yoga classes that are presented in a way that really is inaccessible to many body-types. It is easy to blame the teacher but truly yoga is a deepening of your experience of your own mind and body. It is up to the practitioner to back off where necessary. I believe the teacher should continually remind students of this but don't count on it. The other consideration here is that the flexibility myth is not the real barrier but rather the pride of being seen by others in the class. I understand how hard this can be (believe me) I have seen pride rob me of many experiences that would have enriched my life. It is critical that we find the courage to conquer pride and do the things that we need to do to be healthy and happy if not for yourself then as a role model to the next generation.

"I'm not flexible" is EXACTLY why you need to be taking steps to rectify that. You wouldn't tell the doctor that you can't visit because you are sick. Your body is a beautiful and amazing miracle of life that can heal and adapt quickly. Once you start working on your flexibility you will be amazed at how great you feel and how enormous the ripple-effect of flexibility is positively impacting every aspect of your life.

Be flexible!

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta


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