Welcome to September ! Many people choose this time of year as their time to make a fresh start , try new things and establish new habits (normally healthier ones). As people try to decide if yoga is for them I receive many e-mails and calls which are often charged with doubt and even anxiety about joining the group classes or beginning a personal plan. To help you decide if yoga is really for you here are some common Yoga myths debunked.
1. I can't do yoga , I can't even touch my toes
This is the number 1 reason why people think yoga is not for them.t is very true that a lot of people cannot touch their toes but let me float an idea ....what if you had no toes, or what if you were bed bound or paralized? Take a look at this inspiring example. The truth is that we are all anatomically different , we were all born different and then our life and how we live it shapes us in different ways. Yoga is an endless journey of devotion and dedication to yourself , a journey of discovery that with time allows us "to cure what need not to be endured and endure what cannot be cured"(B.K.S Iyengar) . Cherry Yoga classes are very welcoming and the use of props is never frowned upon, blocks, straps, blankets and cushions will help bring the floor closer to you.
2. I am worried I will hold the class back
This is a very common worry in beginners which stems from our natural inclination to think that we are been watched and judged and that the happiness and well-being of others depends on us. The reality is that Yoga is a very personal experience, everyone in the room is in charge of their own experience . My job as a yoga the teacher is to facilitate sessions that are inclusive and fun but most of all to ensure that everybody is practicing in a safe way . I always offer modifications and alternatives to accommodate injuries and different levels of ability , I also make use of a technique called Vinyasa Krama which allows to layer the poses in a way that gives everyone a chance to find their edge and improve week after week. Cherry Yoga also offers different abilities classes, take a look at the class schedule, click on the individual classes to find out more.
If you are still not convinced talk to me about Cherry Yoga's personal plans , they are great to get you class confident.
3. Yoga is too esoteric
Yoga is ancient! No one knows when exactly it was born but it is estimated around 4,000 years ago. The ancient texts that were written about 2,000 years ago are indeed true to the tradition and contain anything from simple descriptions of postures to descriptions of out of body experiences and communion with the Brahman ( the Universe or higher self). You may have heard of chakra healing, crystals ,angels , subtle energy and many other esoteric terms and perhaps that just isn't your cup of tea.
There are as many ways of teaching yoga as there are yoga teachers and some of them focus on some of the more mysterious and to some extent more powerful areas of yoga.
My main concern is to reach as many people as I can and bring the practical benefits of Yoga into the lives of 21st century individuals. As a Yoga teacher I strive to bring to class fragments of the fuller picture and leave it up to the individual to dive deeper if they so desire. I do not preach or attempt to levitate.If you decide to take part to any of the Cherry Yoga classes you may be lovingly invited to participate to some breathing exercises, mantra reciting or other physical practices called kryas ,however it is never an obligation, always an invitation.
4. Yoga is a religion , I do not want to take part to another faith's rituals
Yoga is not a religion, it is a science ! When I was training to become a teacher I read some of the ancient texts and I was genuinely moved and amazed by the utter dedication of the ancient yogis to exploring our physical existence. They expressed the deepest reverence and love for the deeper human potential, for who we really are beyond all the layers.
Yoga's roots are indeed deeply intertwined with Hinduism and Buddhism and many poses are inspired by the myths and legends from both. Anything that is brought to class is offered in a non dogmatic way as an invitation to look at other traditions with curiosity rather than hostility.
Cherry Yoga's classes are religion neutral , religion is a very personal and private thing.
What you will find at my classes is space to think about deeper aspects of your life, space to connect to your breath and calm your mind so that you can live a more harmonious life and help spread the positive effects of yoga to your community.
5. Yoga has a strange effect on my digestion and it's just too embarrassing
I can't lie , yoga does have a stimulating effect on the digestive system .
What with the twisting and the bending down and straining everyone will at some point let go in class ...
it has happened before and will happen again ... no harm done, I can think of worse things. A good yoga teacher would never comment , laugh at or even acknowledge the windy incident and generally people who attend yoga classes are aware that it may happen and tend to be very sympathetic as you never know when it will be you !
If that ever happens to you though it can be embarrassing and demoralising however I can promise that if you persevere and keep practicing things will improve . Consider it as a good opportunity to take a look at how your body functions and what it's trying to tell you. How is your nutrition ? Are you eating foods that are irritating your gut? Are you walking and exercising enough? Are you drinking too much alcohol or not enough water?
Have you considered the possibility to perhaps eat lighter or even fast once a week before practice?
Many people approach yoga thinking it's stretching and then find out that it encourages them to re-consider other aspects of their life and they work at becoming a better version of themselves in so many ways.
6. Yoga is for ladies in lycra
This is a biggy... and yes this is mainly for the boys ! but also for all you ladies who do not like to wear yoga pants and prefer baggy trousers and t-shirts.
YOU make your practice , not your clothes!
The most important thing is to wear comfortable clothes ...
Gents , drop this excuse and check this guy out : many of the most prominent yoga teachers from the past and present were and are men ! Yoga was created by men for men it is only when yoga came to the West that things changed.
Yoga is for everyone !
I invite you to wear what you want and come along to one of my classes and experience yourself the deeper dimension of yoga.
Here is what one of my male students had to say : "As a beginner, I was looking for a yoga session that would give me some exercise but mostly to overcome the natural stiffness of muscles and joints that comes with ageing. I was looking for a welcoming, friendly group where I would feel comfortable. It is also very important to me that the leader has the empathy to be able to push me at the right times but to recognise my limitations too. Yoga has a deeper dimension which is intrinsic to it. I would strongly recommend Cherry Yoga"
There are many other preconceptions and myths about yoga including the "if you practice yoga you need to be a vegetarian" myth and the "I cannot sit still for a minute let alone lie down with a load of strangers" myth but whatever you may have heard there is no substitute for finding out by yourself what yoga can do for you.
You do not need to buy a mat just come along , prices start from as little as £6 for the group sessions if you buy 5.
Not convinced ? Drop me a line with your specific questions and I will be happy to discuss them with you.
Om shanti ( Om, peace)