I've been a yoga teacher for seven years and have been practicing for 16—so long before lululemon pants became status symbols. But the more popular yoga becomes, the more I notice people buying into misconceptions about it.
Even self-declared yogis are often confused by what yoga is and who it's for—so I'm here to debunk the most common myths about the practice.
1. Yoga Is All About Learning How to Do Cool Poses
Yoga isn’t about poses at all—at least not in the way you would think. The poses are meant to bring you into the moment and ideally to help you find that line between effort and ease. The poses are there to teach us that life is constantly in flux and change is inevitable, but if you can work to find your way toward that line, you'll likely feel more at peace with everything.
2. You Have to Be Flexible to Do Yoga
This is probably the most common misconception—and the one that stops so many people from starting yoga. Here’s the truth: Yoga isn’t about flexibility. Yoga is about learning how to be in the here and now and the physical practice that can help you fine-tune that approach to life.
3. Yoga Is a Religion or a Cult
Yoga a spiritual practice, yes, but it can pair with your current religious beliefs or non-beliefs. It doesn't require you to renounce other faiths—or to have faith in the first place.
4. You Have to Be a Skinny White Girl to Practice
Nothing could be more ridiculous or further from the truth. Yoga is about self-acceptance by way of learning to bring yourself into the present moment and then to gain the strength to stay there and act from it, no matter how challenging life becomes. This is something all body types—and both genders—can benefit from.
5. You'll Become a New-Age Hippie
The texts you read when you're training to become a yoga instructor don't talk about peace and love in the way that pop culture would have you believe. You don’t have to be vegan or start buying all bohemian clothes to practice. Again, yoga is simply about being in the now and the effort it takes to get there.
Alexandria Crow is a yoga teacher who specializes in teaching both the physical mechanics of yoga asana and the larger spiritual and mental components of the practice. You can find out more about her at AlexandriaCrow.com and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.