I’m about to offer yoga to my work colleagues and while I know people will generally be open to the idea, there are always those who have preconceived notions on what yoga is ‘all about’. I’m hoping to convert a few of them to my ‘cult’.
Yoga is a religion – it has some ties to Hinduism but really it respects whatever faith you may follow. There is every chance it will deepen your faith. When you come together at the end, with hands in prayer, bowing while saying namaste, all you are doing is saying I see and respect the life force in you as you see and respect the life force in me.
Yoga is for skinny, flexible people – yoga is for absolutely everyone! If you can breathe, you can do yoga!
Yogis need to be Vegans – while there is a movement which practices this idea, it’s not a strict rule. One of the limbs of yoga (a component of Raja Yoga) is ahimsa, which means non-harm. That’s generally where the Vegan idea comes from. I, however, thoroughly enjoy meat!
Yoga is for women – the original Yogi masters were men and attendance at classes by men is increasing. Check out Boys of Yoga! The group has a great saying ‘Some might think yoga makes you less of a man. The truth is, it makes you a better one.’
Yoga is only about flashy poses like handstands – the most difficult pose in yoga is savasana (aka corpse pose). This comes at the end of practice, where we let the body reset, through meditation. To be still is the ultimate goal in yoga and this is why it is so hard! The poses that challenge me vary from day to day and it’s about your ability to adapt to change in body and mind. (Doing a handstand would be cool one day though!)
Yoga isn’t a good workout – if you haven’t done a power yoga class or hot yoga, you will change your mind on this! It also compliments any exercise program and many professional teams do yoga to help recovery. (The Brisbane Lions have been doing it for years – still waiting for it to help them win!)
Yoga is too expensive – keep an eye out for karma yoga offers, teacher training and full moon yoga. These are often by donation. Most studios have great introductory offers to try out classes and in the end the investment is wonderful for your health. Looking at the long term benefits, you will save on hospital and doctor’s bills, medication, etc.
Yoga is for young people – it helps to keep your body moving! There’s a bunch of amazing, experienced yogis who are killing it in handstand with grey hair. And in the end, if you can still pull your undies up, tie your shoes and hug your loved ones, you’re totally winning!
Yogis are totally chill all the time – what I notice mostly is that even though I experience negative emotions all the time, I let go of them more freely. It does not mean putting up with ill treatment, it’s about respecting yourself as well as others.
For all of the excuses – we have answers ready! Just get to class!