Friday, August 21, 2009

The Biggest Myths and Misconceptions about Yoga Debunked


Whenever I tell someone that I teach yoga, they look at me like I have 2 heads (they must picture a contortionist in Circe de Soleil) and ask: "you must be very flexible!!" Followed my some other ignorant remarks (not a very yogic statement but that's really what it is). :) Although I practice and teach yoga doesn't mean that I can perform amazing postures and possess feats of physical prowess. I am probably more flexible because of yoga (but that's a result, not a prerequisite). We all started somewhere and just like anything else, yoga produces results if you are dedicated and work hard.

Also, if I mention yoga to somebody who doesn’t practice that person is likely to say one of the things listed below (they are all frequently heard excuses for not trying yoga, and they’re all inaccurate):

1. “I’m not flexible enough..you have to be a pretzel!"
Not true! I already explained that flexibility can be a result of a consistent and dedicated yoga practice. I myself don't have the most open hamstrings!! That's why it's called a practice!!

2. “Yoga is for women!!”
Not true! One look at well-known yogis -- from B.K.S. Iyengar to Baron Baptiste -- should dispel this one. While the majority of yoga practitioners today are women -- 72.2 percent according to Yoga Journal’s 2008 “Yoga in America” study -- it originated among men in India about 5,000 years ago. For many men, stepping into a class dominated by women, especially one that requires movements that are completely different from anything they ever have tried, can be intimidating. That why some studios will offer men’s classes. If that’s not an option, try bringing a friend to class.

3. “I can’t sit still and do nothing”
That's not all yoga is..there are many types..some more physical and the other slower and more restorative. You can find a school and type of yoga for any personality!! YogaFit master trainer Suzie Celentano has been there. In 1998, her step instructor mentioned she was teaching a yoga class and Celentano decided to try it. “I loved that first class, except for the relaxation. I was a Type-AAA personality and sitting still did not agree with me,” she said. Still, she said the physical poses made her feel great, so she kept practicing. After five years, the gym she was teaching at needed a yoga instructor and Celentano volunteered. Step into one of her teacher training sessions and the Type-AAA personality still shows up, but she also has learned to relax and still her mind over time. It takes practice, but in many ways, the people who are least likely to relax on their own benefit the most from yoga’s deep relaxation time.

4.
“Yoga is for those earthy-crunchy weirdos”
Yes, many yogis and yoginis are vegetarians; many eat organic or prefer natural fibers. Those who delve deeper into the practice and its philosophical underpinnings, such as ahimsa, or nonviolence, often begin to change their habits. But it’s a rare studio that will only allow a student in the doors if they first renounce meat. Likewise, many studios do a lot with candles, incense and chanting. Others don’t. Gyms and fitness centers are least likely to embrace those pieces of yoga, in part because they’re catering to people who want the flexibility benefits as part of their workouts.

What myths have you heard? Please share :)

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Friday, August 7, 2009

Creating Space on and off the mat.....



Creating Space in our lives is a simple concept - a concept that we all understand. Yet it’s a concept most of us find difficult to put into action. Through our yoga practice, we can re-discover it together... and although creating space isn’t easy, the rewards are worth our efforts.

In our yoga practice, we can look for space in our bodies, and explore its possibilities with an open curiosity and without expectations. We can see that creating space in our body by “undoing” the tension and stiffness, allows us to move deeper into a particular yoga posture. We can create space in our ligaments, joints, bones and muscles. And space means freedom...throught extension, expansion and through our movement...through our focus on the breath and meditation...

We can also create a space in our minds, and in our breath, allowing us the opportunity to discover what it’s like to live more freely and openly. More space in our thoughts, feelings...space for other people: for the differences, limitations, and dreams...

Contemplate what it would be like to create space in our lives – more space to explore ourselves, more space to play with our loves ones, more space to experience what we love. We become in a position to receive....


Blessings and Namaste,
Anna