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.