5 Yoga myths busted #International Yoga Day

Today is International Yoga Day and before I take out my  mat that has been gathering dust for the past six months, I’d like to share some myths associated with it.

Yoga is a Hindu Exercise System

Of all the myths associated with this form of exercise, this has got to be the funniest. A few months ago,I saw Dr. M, a scholar of religious studies and some what of a fundamentalist in the religion he practices, reduced to half  to half his size and devoid of all his bluster. When pressed, he confessed that he had had a health issue was advised to de-stress.  Yoga, was the answer I told him especially the least physical of them – the Pranayam. But I was stunned that this learned and spiritually enlightened man said that this was simply out of the question because Yoga was a Hindu exercise system and contrary to his beliefs! Besides, he couldn’t bring himself to say Om. When I told him that it was as ridiculous as  dubbing callisthenics Christian, he relented  and said may be he could try and say Ooo instead?

 108 Surya Namaskars are the trick to losing weight

At the best of times when I did Yoga every day ( a really long long time ago), I could only do around 15 Surya Namaskars ( i.e. 2 x 15 ) at a stretch. Of course I didn’t lose any weight because I was already thin to begin with. But gradually, the weight piled on and after several attempts, I joined a free trial class of Power Yoga.  No sooner were we warmed up than we began doing Surya Namaskars at a frantic pace that left me completely breathless ! All that I achieved at the end of the session was a pain in the lower back.

However, Surya Namaskar which is a fluid movement of 7 asanas is a complete and rigorous form of Yoga. If done correctly and regularly, you will remain slim and trim. BUT you cannot start off with 108 and you also have to watch what you eat as is the case in any regimen that you adopt strictly to lose weight.

Yoga is meant for women

I don’t know how this myth came about because most of the Yoga classes that I joined had a fair number of men. In fact one of the better classes I attended ( Iyengar’s Yoga school) had MORE men, one of whom actually used to wink at me, upside down,  from the opposite side of the room while we were in the middle of an Adhomukhoshwanasana. I nearly gagged when I saw that wink especially since the man was as old and greying as me!

Western women find it easier to do a headstand in the middle of the room.

This was the most ridiculous Yoga trivia I’d heard at a Yoga talk during a famous dietitian’s book launch. She said that Western women could do an unaided head stand from day one while we Indian women clung to the wall for all of our lives. She also said that Indian women were better at forward bending poses because we were used to always giving in and being accommodating. Conversely, Western women were better at standing poses and couldn’t bend very well because they were stronger and less supple.

Yoga is a cult

I have over the years joined several Yoga classes and have never found myself in a cult. My Yoga teachers have always been mainstream people who took to Yoga purely out of interest and passion. Some classes were conducted without a Yoga prayer or mantras and definitely none of our Yoga teachers preached any kind of philosophy.

[stextbox id=”custom”]So essentially Yoga is not a mere exercise system but a holistic exercise system that is easy on the body and great for the spirit. So get out your yoga mat and stretch those muscles to good health. [/stextbox]

Today , Yoga is high on my list of things to do and before the sun gets really high, I’m going to take out that mat, shake off the dust and stretch.

Om, shanti, shanti, shanti hi.

Image for BellyBytes


A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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15 Responses

  1. Some people will believe whatever they have to just to oppose any concept, practice or science that is not to their liking…Well, on that note, I need to get a Yoga mat first ! 🙂

    • Bellybytes says:

      Well, for years I did Yoga on the floor with just a folded blanket. This was in the days before Yoga gear became fashionable….

  2. Parul says:

    I am glad you are busting those myths on your blog. I love Yoga and that’s the only form of exercise I know other than walking.
    People have funny ways to dismiss things they don’t believe in.
    Parul recently posted…Your Dreams #MicroblogMondaysMy Profile

  3. Alana says:

    You might be surprised at what some people believe about Yoga in the United States (there is still enough of #5). And the “myth” about us Westerners has me laughing. Just laughing. We are the same everywhere.
    Alana recently posted…A Pink Ballerina and The Pioneer RoseMy Profile

    • Bellybytes says:

      Me too! She actually believed that we Eastern women are more flexible because we are always giving in while Western women are strong . I agree that we are all same the world over and perhaps strong women do better hand and head stands but it’s not because of their ethnicity but because of their physical prowess

  4. Dashy says:

    How very true! The religious myth is so common place. I know someone who has told the participants to chant ‘amen’, ‘om’ or any sound according to their beliefs, just to prove it isn’t religious. The western women’s myth seems so silly! This is great, I’m glad you posted this! 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…I Am Enough – #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  5. pins & ashes says:

    I love my sns.. I guess that is a form of yoga I enjoy a lot.. but the myths! cult! 😀
    pins & ashes recently posted…Oh! Still no match for Ur Daughter!?My Profile

  6. Truly Happy says:

    Winking person in the yoga class… Upside down wink. 😀 😀

    Western women can do headstand easily compared to Indian women :@ that’s silly.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Bellybytes says:

      Yes I was shocked too! I first thought he had something in his eye but when he did it at every Upside Down Dog, I knew he was truly winking

  7. Tina Basu says:

    People really believes yoga is for women only??? LOL . But I am such a lazy one that I can never get myself up and push myself for some serious yoga apart from some stretching. i have been wanting to do the suryanamakar in a proper way for a long time now. Guess need to push myself harder!

  1. July 11, 2016

    […] 5 Yoga myths busted #International Yoga Day […]

  2. July 25, 2016

    […] 5 Yoga myths busted #International Yoga Day […]

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