International Day of Yoga: Top 5 Yoga Myths Busted
One look around you will tell you that everyone seems to be practising yoga or talking about yoga – but all this has got very little to do with what yoga really is. This $27 billion industry has attracted 30% more popularity in the last 4 years, with yoga studios mushrooming at every corner. However, there is a huge difference between this ancient science and the multi-million dollar business it has become.
The West with its limited knowledge has transformed this beautiful and ancient science into a weight loss and power exercise programme, completely oriented towards the physical body. What’s sad is that India, the birthplace of yoga is also moving away from the essence of this mythical science. Here are some of the common myths about yoga… debunked:
1.Yoga is Not Just About Convoluted Postures
You can do 20 surya namaskars at one go? Good for you! But remember that yoga is essentially about creating unity in the mind, body and spirit so that you may live a happy and fulfilling life. It is the science of the mind where the ultimate goal is inner peace. A healthy, fit body is very important but a strong and stable mind is critical to your overall wellbeing. Remember that you can only achieve what the mind believes, and yoga is a training of the mind so that you can move beyond your limitations, and make the unthinkable happen.
2. Yoga is Practised as a One Hour Class
Yoga is not a workout, it is a work-in. It is a spiritual practice that opens your heart, stills your mind, and liberates your very soul.
Few yoga teachers have the ability to take you beyond the physical practice to help you heal your mind, body and spirit. Yoga is a process, a way of life that comes into play 24*7, and 365 days a year.
Yoga is the journey of the self, and it cannot be restricted to a one-hour class at a trendy yoga studio. In fact the practice must be extended beyond the walls of the studio into daily life.
3. Yoga is a Stress Buster
There is no question about the fact that yoga will certainly bust the stress from your 9-9 job. But if that’s all you’re are looking for, you could just as well be going for a run.
Yoga requires commitment, and if you really want to experience yoga in totality, your goals will have to be higher than only stress busting. The foundation text of yoga philosophy, the 2000-year old Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali, advocates that happiness is an art. It is not a state that one can just arrive at, but it is a journey that takes courage and commitment, where how you live each day and each moment makes all the difference.
4. Men Don’t Do Yoga
Says who? Yoga was started by a man and practised exclusively by men for thousands of years. Yoga is pure science. Let’s not divide it on lines of gender, age and religion.
5. You Need To Be Young To Practise Yoga
The backbends and several of the poses might look tricky if you’re not in your 20s or 30s. But remember, yoga is not just for the young and flexible. It is in fact for the courageous, willing to explore the unknown, to go beyond the limitations of the mind to discover the magic that lies beyond. No matter which age group you are in, yoga is a wonderful way to bring about strength, courage and optimal mental, emotional and physical health through every single stage of our lives.
(Based out of Mumbai, Radhika Vachani believes “Your Wellness is a Journey”. She is the founder of Yogacara – a yoga institute dedicated to the legendary BKS Iyengar, whose student she was for 15+ years. Radhika quit her lucrative corporate job in San Francisco to devote her life to spreading awareness about the true meaning of yoga.)