4 Myths about Yoga

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As a yoga practitioner and instructor, I run into these commonplace Yoga myths.

Myth:  Yoga is all about some physical postures requiring super flexible body which can turn into pretzel…

Fact:  Today most of the world associates Yoga with some yoga postures and sees it as some fitness regime. But Yoga is way of life. It is the study of life, body, breath, mind, intellect, memory ego and the Self; it is a study of our inner faculties and their inter-connectedness. Doing Yoga postures give opportunity to study and explore our physical realm. And more than flexibility of muscles and alignments, it is about connecting the physical steadiness to stillness and happiness of mind. More than flexibility, it is about simplicity of mind.

Besides postures, yoga’s repertoire has in its range variety of breathing techniques (pranayama), sense discipline (pratyahara), concentration techniques (dharana), meditation (dhyana), blissful awareness techniques (samadhi) in addition to  guidelines for personal and social observances.

Myth: Yoga can cure so many ailments…

Fact: Today, thanks to scientific studies, yoga’s great healing and therapeutic power have been explored and proven and is recommended by knowledgeable physicians around the world to help the ailing human kind.

But essentially, yoga is a set of practices which involve harmonious development of one’s body, mind and dormant spiritual potentials which has its origin in ancient scriptures which dates about 5000 years back. If you learn and practice yoga according to these scriptures, mostly likely you may not develop any sickness. It is a practice which prevents the suffering even before it arises.

Myth:  It is so easy to become a yoga teacher and start my own style of yoga and school…

Fact:   There are hundreds of yoga schools and teachers in the world. But very few teach the real essence of yoga. Today a lot of silly things are happening in the world in the name of yoga. We definitely need some sort of guidelines for people to see what really authentic yoga is and what could be a sort of time pass exercise named as yoga.

Yoga was borne in the land of India. Fortunately with enormous efforts by Government of India, the United Nations have recognized 21st June as International Day of Yoga since 2015. As a recent development, the Quality Council of India (QCI) will be monitoring the quality of yoga as well. Guidelines are formed and yoga teachers will have to adhere to those. Let us hope that similar guidelines will be adopted to preserve the authenticity of yoga world-wide.

Myth: Yoga can be learnt by reading books or watching DVDs or on Google…

Fact: Tons of books, websites, DVDs, apps on yoga are available today which give so much information about yoga and various yogic practices and techniques. These may be a good starting point for modern yogis however wisdom is not to remain stuck with these information and techniques but to go beyond to grasp the real essence and purpose of yoga. For this, one needs a Guru who would help translate the information into an experience. Sometimes there is some sort of allergy for the word ‘guru’. Just as we have the coach or guide for football, soccer, to learn driving, to do PHD in any topic, we need Guru for understanding the subtle subjects like consciousness, mind, spirit, etc. Guru is nothing but a guide who guides with more compassion and personal interest. A Guru will show you your highest potential and guide take you there.

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