I am starting off my first Breathe Bend Believe blog with a bit of yoga myth busting! As a yoga teacher running classes in Brighton and Hove, I get asked a lot of questions by people curious about yoga, who have read a lot in the news and magazines about how good it is for mind and body, but who just don’t know exactly what it’s all about. So I thought I would have a crack at tackling some of the top five yoga myths or common assumptions surrounding the stretchy, bendy, breathy stuff. Here goes…
Top five yoga myths:
Myth: Yoga is just stretching, not a workout.
Truth: Sigh, this is the number one misconception about yoga. OK, it’s actually a misconception I had myself, after going to a number of rather naff yoga classes at various health clubs and big chain gyms. It’s just stretching, lolling about on mats and deep breathing with your eyes closed. Then I went to a Vinyasa flow class. A yoga class that gave you a great full body workout and sent you on your way feeling physically and emotionally energised, yet relaxed at the same time. It also came with the added benefit of not making me want to inhale the entire contents of my kitchen when I got home, a feeling I frequently had after a long run or gym session and definitely counterintuitive to any weight loss goals.
But don’t just take my word, Livestrong.com estimates an hour of Vinyasa Flow yoga can burn up to 554 cal and Womens Health magazine reported in its latest October edition that “yoga is a more effective weight-loss tool than resistance training, according to a new study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health”.
Myth: You have to have experience to come to a class.
Truth: Nope. Everyone has to start somewhere, and yoga is no exception. At Breathe Bend Believe Yoga, all classes are open to beginners and options are given throughout to allow people to learn and progress at their own pace. Yoga is all about you and your body, so we advise listening to it and going at your own pace.
Myth: Yoga is just for the ladies
Truth: Nope, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs credited Yoga as the main reason he was able to keep playing at the top of his game in the premier league until the grand age of 40. Ancient in footballer years!
“It strengthens your muscles, improves flexibility, but also keeps you fit and gets you out on the training pitch so you can train every day. You want to be out there so you need to get your body robust and ready for anything. If I do a yoga session the next day (after a game), I’m nowhere near as stiff and I’ll be back training at the right level a lot quicker”, says Ryan.
Whether you run, play football, tennis, rugby or just hit the gym a lot, yoga is a great way to increase your overall flexibility, strength and stamina, therefore enhance performance in your sport / physical activity of choice.
Myth: Yoga is boring
Truth: Some classes can be boring, but it depends on the class, the teacher and what you define as boring. Don’t be put off by one bad, or boring, experience. Try different classes and find one that fits your style, interest and objective. Vinyasa flow is a constantly moving style of yoga that challenges your core strength, balance and fitness; set to music and taught with passion and humour, there is no time to be bored in this class.
Myth: Yoga is only for the deeply spiritual, hemp wearing, hippy dreamer.
Truth: This one might require another post, but everyone is welcome at Breathe Bend Believe Yoga. Dreamers encouraged but whatever else that comes with is up to you.
Now with all myths busted, come along to class!