I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down the yoga teacher path because I had a lot of preconceived ideas as to what yoga is and the ‘types’ of people who do it. As much as I love practising yoga, I didn’t want to have to change every aspect of myself in order to do it. I certainly didn’t want to be told I was going to yogi hell because I have a fierce passion for bacon. I didn’t want to join a coven of smug women who sacrificed chickens at the winter solstice, ate their child’s placenta and wore only things made from hemp. Most of all, I didn’t want biceps like Madonna.
It turns out I did not have to worry. Yoga is a lot more ‘normal’ than I ever could have hoped; though, after talking to many friends, it has become clear that I wasn’t the only person to have had unfounded yogic apprehensions. I would like to dispel the most common yogic myths.
- You have to be vegetarian. While traditional yogi gurus avoid meat, it is generally accepted that us mere mortals will still devour a chicken kebab on our way home from Friday night drinks.
- You have to be flexible. This is one of the most common fears about yoga. You don’t need an Olympic medal in gymnastics. The whole point of yoga is to work with where you are at in the moment, regardless of whether touching your toes is but a childhood memory, or you are one of those freaks who can throw their leg behind their head.
- Yoga is a religion. Although there is extensive philosophy behind it, it’s definitely not a religion. So whether you are a staunch Catholic or a preachy atheist, yoga shouldn’t conflict with your personal beliefs.
- There is only one yoga. There are so many different types of yoga it makes my head spin. I would recommend shopping around and finding a studio that clicks.
- Yoga teachers are shouty Nazis who put your back out. If you’ve been yelled at by a yoga teacher, or been forced to do postures that feel unsafe, you need a different yoga teacher. Unless you love that drill-sergeant approach to exercise, you lazy sack of garbage! Drop and give me 20!
- Yoga is not for men. Yes it is. In fact, in ancient times yoga was predominantly practised by men. I have to admit there was a time when I found flexible men to be quite creepy. But I have changed! There is nothing creepier than a stressed-out dude with tight hammies who yells all the time. These are modern times. The men at the studio where I work are awesome gentlemen who range from teenagers to senior citizens. It makes my heart burst with pride to see how far New Zealand’s view on blokeyness has come. It’s almost like we are in the 21st century or something!
- Yoga won’t help you lose weight. Lies! I had thighs like a rugby league player before I swapped my gym membership for yoga. If your body’s in balance it’s a lot more open to digesting that cheeseburger than if you are all stressed out by counting how many calories are in it. Yoga works on building up your energy levels and leaves you feeling so good that you’re less likely to cry yourself to sleep with a packet of Tim Tams.