Are these yoga myths holding you back from the mat?
You have to flexible to practice yoga.
If I had a penny for each time someone told me they would love to practice yoga but aren’t flexible enough- well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I WOULD have a couple of dollars. I had one friend who used to say people are made in the rubber factory or the steel factory. You have the naturally bendy that can drop into a split at a moments notice, and those who after a hot yoga class can barely brush their fingertips on their toes. Guess which camp I fall in?
Flexibility is dependent on a variety of factors like genetics, hamstring length and pliability, activity level, and stretch frequency. As a yoga teacher I have spent countless hours on my mat, but still can’t land a full split because of my tight psoas muscle and temperamental hamstrings. But like, who gives a s**t? Obviously having strength and flexibility is important so that you have mobility and are able to access and contract certain muscles. But, if you are taking the time to stretch and rehab your muscles and still can’t touch your toes-That’s totally okay. There's no scientific evidence that shows that if you can touch your nose to your knees you’re more healthy. Not to mention, there’s legit no scientific reason for you to need to touch your nose to your knee- I mean, really, think about it! The point of yoga is to move with your breath, and practice finding strength and breaking through discomfort so that you are reinforced to do so off of your mat. So if you can’t touch your toes I PROMISE that you will get JUST as much out of the practice than those who can.
People who are good at yoga don’t use blocks.
Maybe it’s just me, but 7 years ago when I started yoga I thought using props in a yoga class was SO unsexy. As if having a block even in the vicinity of my mat was like having a neon sign that said “I don’t know what I’m doing”. And for me, wanting to protect my ego at all costs, I struggled through certain poses with bad alignment instead of using a block. I mean, how else would I look ~*effortless*~? Fast forward a year when I was practicing sometimes twice a day and would use as many blocks as I could carry with me to my mat. Blocks aren’t crutches, they help you access the correct alignment in the poses so that you can juice the most out of it. Whether that be a deeper stretch, or allowing you to strengthen a part of your body. OR, my favorite, place blocks under your knees (tall side up) in savasana to take the pressure off your lower back. Do that and then tell me blocks aren't the GOAT.
Yoga is easy.
To be fair, there are some yoga classes that are not physically demanding, yes. A yin class where you hold poses for long periods of time will not cause you to break a sweat, but that’s not the goal for yin. Power yoga, or hot power yoga where you’re moving one breath per movement in a heated room is a different story. Have you ever been to a hot power yoga class or Bikram?I have seen these yoga classes BREAK hunky grown men who hit the gym like it’s their day job. Not because they aren’t strong, but because you use different muscles and muscle groups to perform poses that you otherwise wouldn’t really use in that capacity. To this day there are times after an athletic power flow that I have to sit outside of the class for a second to make sure I don’t pass out. The beauty of yoga is that if you are being presented with a sequence that is not as demanding (or too demanding) you can add or change it however you like, in real time! That’s what yoga is about, honoring yourself, and your body, in that moment in time.
So hit the mat- and show yourself what you’re made of.