Six Common Misconceptions About Yoga (Debunked)

cork yoga mat downward dog best Uk matTime and time again we hear people say they’d love to give yoga a try, but…. and this is usually followed by a handful of reasons, most of which are based entirely on false beliefs that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So, in this article, we’re setting the record straight by debunking some of the most common myths around yoga, to help you overcome any misconceptions that may be preventing you from embarking on your journey towards improved health and happiness.

1. You have to be really flexible to practice yoga

Probably one of the biggest misconceptions around yoga is that you’ve got to be super flexible, however, this simply is not true. In fact, you could almost say it’s the opposite, as yoga helps to increase flexibility and range of motion, making it ideal for people who are looking to improve in this department!

Of course, as you move into the more advanced postures, more flexibility is required, but you don’t need to worry about that yet.

2. Yoga is just for women

Yoga may be more popular among women now. But when you trace it back to its origins, you’ll discover many of the great pioneers in yoga were in fact male.

So men, if you’ve been reluctant to try yoga because it’s “just for women”, think again.  

3. You have to be vegan/vegetarian to be accepted by the yoga community

Thanks to its amazing mental and physical health benefits, yoga has become very popular within the health and well-being space. As a result, the super health-conscious types (which often includes vegans and veggies) are often attracted to yoga.

But believe it or not, you do not have to be vegan or vegetarian to practice yoga, and there are PLENTY of yogis that eat meat and enjoy a less-than-perfect diet. So don’t be put off by the false stereotypes portrayed by social media.

4. You have to be in ‘good shape’ to practice yoga

Instagram may be filled with slim, athletic people doing handstands on the beach and showing off their perfectly chiselled abs, but this type of figure is certainly not required for yoga.

Yoga is for all shapes and sizes and the vast majority of people who practice do not possess the body type described above. If you don’t believe us, find a local class and see for yourself.

6. Yoga isn’t good for people over a certain age

Wrong. Yoga is good for you, no matter how old (or young) you are. Of course, as you age your joints naturally become more worn, muscles become weaker and flexibility decreases so it’s important to take extra care in certain poses to avoid injury.

However, practising yoga regularly has been proven to slow these ageing processes, helping you to maintain strength and mobility for many years to come. The earlier you start the better, however if you’re worried you’ve left it too late, don’t be. There are plenty of people who start yoga in their 60’s, 70’s and beyond, and are much fitter and healthier as a result.

7. You have to practice every day to see improvements

It’s true that practice makes perfect, therefore the more time you dedicate to your yoga practice, the quicker you’re likely to see improvements in your physical and mental health. However, often people believe that unless they practice every day, they won’t feel the benefits.

But even if you only practice once or twice each week, you should still expect to see improvements. One study revealed that practising yoga twice a week significantly helped alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, whilst a 2016 study found that bi-weekly sessions is enough to improve flexibility.

So don’t worry if you don’t have time to practice every day, just be patient and you will start to see improvements over time.

Ready to begin your yoga journey?

Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and it’s helped debunk some of the myths and misconceptions preventing you from enjoying all the amazing benefits that yoga has to offer.  

If you think you’re now ready to get embark on your journey, take a look at our ultimate Beginners Guide to Yoga for great tips and advice. You can also browse our range of eco-friendly yoga products including our cork yoga mats, blocks and accessories, for all the equipment you need to get started. Good luck!