Don’t Be a Shmogi, Taking Yoga Back

by Bitley Shawn
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Myths That Discourage the General Population From Practicing Yoga


    • Paying for Yoga

      I believe in energy exchange and compensation for any goods and services. But you should be able to practice yoga even if you can’t afford it. There are some studios that allow you to pay what you can. As long as you can give something with honor and within your means you can have access to their yoga studio. This arrangement obviously works better than paying sky high prices. It is also possible to be a solitary practitioner. You can practice by yourself using various resources that are available and some are listed below. When your circumstances change you can then choose to try a studio that charges


    • Elusive and mysterious practices

      Some individuals or groups try to cloak yoga in mystery rituals and jargon and that frightens many seekers away. Yoga brings so many benefits, physical, emotional and spiritual and like anything with so many opportunities, it should be open to anyone at any level. Yoga can be as simple as finding a place to sit for 5 minutes a day to be still or as complex you wish. The point is YOU choose not others.


    • You have to be thin, super flexible and sinewy

      Yoga can be done by anyone of any age, size and physical condition. Yoga is more than just physical poses. So even when doing certain hand gestures called mudras, or simple breathing exercises, you are in essence doing yoga.


    • Convincing you to do yoga only ONE specific way

      There are many types of postures, breathing techniques, meditation levels, philosophical depths that can be explored in yoga. But yoga is about life and it’s all in the balancing, yoking and going at your own pace. Different yogic practices today emphasize different things. Some focus on reaching enlightenment, another on mastering control over one’s mind and body, others on loving kindness, and various other focuses. So it is best to find what needs balancing in your life hence which type of yoga to begin exploring.


    • Insisting group yoga is superior to solitary practice

      Why is group yoga emphasized? Be in a group if you so choose to but not because you think it is absolutely necessary or superior to practicing on your own. Yes it is imperative to know how to do certain poses correctly and to understand the philosophy and history. Many people who practice yoga in groups do indeed feel it is useful, helpful and a very positive. However doing group yoga is a way not the only way to practice yoga.


    • Gender-izing yoga

      An illusion has been created that yoga practice is mostly for women. By featuring mostly woman in the media, magazines, and advertising, this myth is perpetuated. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years by men, women and children of all ages. Sadly many men shy away from yoga feeling silly for even contemplating practicing it. Also men may fear feeling out of place going to classes which are female dominated. But that is not fair to anyone. Yoga is for all and all can benefit from it


    • Over-commercializing

      Just one look at any yoga related material will quickly take the searcher to a world where s/he is drowned in specialty advertisement of yoga-specific clothing, jewelry, fancy props, philosophies, clubs, travel spots, retreats and events. But this unnecessarily monetizes a sacred practice. Many of these “things”, devices and such do have their benefits and place but the cost and placement is indeed suspect.


    • Insisting yoga be done with a guru

      A guru is someone that has undergone the right of passage, so to speak, in a particular path in life. Someone who has ascended to a place of wisdom and hence the ability to lead others who are inexperienced and students into the same passage of growth and learning. But is it an absolute necessity? Likely not. Having a guru is very personal and only you will know if and when you want one.

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