As an avid yoga lover and teacher, I get really bummed out when people say they don't like yoga or that they don't want to try it. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but usually they feel this way because of what they've heard or because they had a bad experience.
Yoga has changed my life in so many positive ways, and before I started practicing I also was so intimidated when it came to trying out a class. I didn't think yoga was for me. Now that I have been practicing for over three years, I want to shatter three of the biggest yoga myths in hopes that it will reinvigorate you and get you on the mat.
Myth No. 1: Being flexible is a requirement to practice yoga.
Many people have told me they don't want to practice yoga or they don't like yoga because they aren't flexible. Rest assured, bending yourself into a pretzel isn't the objective of yoga. I always try to explain that the physical aspect of yoga (asana) is only one small part in the eight limbs (or aspects) of yoga. Opening up areas of your body for more flexibility and building strength will come with time but are not a requirement to practice yoga or enjoy practicing yoga!
Myth No. 2: There is only one type of yoga class.
There are many different types of yoga, and yoga isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. I have had clients, friends, and family tell me that they don't like yoga and just can't "get into it." My answer every time is that you are most likely not practicing the right yoga for you! The common misconception is that the term "yoga class" encompasses everything yoga has to offer.
Off the top of my head I can think of 14 different types of yoga that range from challenging (if you want to build strength and sweat) all the way to restorative. The best way to figure out what type of yoga you like is to do some research and find studios that offer different types of classes. Don't write yoga off completely if you took a class that you didn't like.
Myth No. 3: You can be "good" at yoga.
There is no such thing as being "good" at yoga. This one myth is so important to shatter because so many people are intimidated to practice yoga because they think they aren't good enough or are discouraged that they don't look like the cover of a yoga magazine in each pose. Although seeing a beautiful yoga pose is amazing, the point of yoga is how you feel in the pose and what works for your body.
So someone on the mat next to you is doing something with their body you didn't think was possible. That doesn't make them any better or worse at yoga. Everyone's yoga practice is different and unique to them. Once people realize this, they truly enjoy yoga and understand that coming to your mat is your time to leave insecurities, stress, worry and everything in between behind. Being present and in touch with your own body is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Don't worry about anyone else.
I hope that shattering these three big myths of yoga will inspire you to get back on your mat or on a yoga mat for the first time. Yoga should be a positive experience, and your practice is customized for YOU! Namaste.