What comes to mind when you hear the word “yoga”? Do you picture an elderly Indian man with a magnificent beard, meditating cross-legged on a cushion? Or do you think of slim suburban moms clad in stylish athleisure wear, stopping on their way home for an expensive smoothie or green juice? While these two stereotypes have their origin in reality, the truth is that yoga is for everybody, and for every body. Yoga instructor Danielle Jarman of Sarasota wants to dispel some of the myths and misinformation that may lead people to believe otherwise!
Myth: You have to be flexible to do yoga.
Fact: Sure, there are some poses that require incredible flexibility, but remember that the YouTube yogis or teachers at your local studio have practiced for years, if not decades, to achieve the ability to twist themselves into a pretzel. And there are plenty of poses that are accessible to beginners.
In fact, says Danielle Jarman, yoga can be incredibly helpful for improving one’s flexibility. Stretching the muscles mindfully and paying attention to how your body moves through space will lead to all sorts of benefits, flexibility among them.
Myth: You have to be skinny to do yoga.
Fact: Not at all! There are plenty of curvy women and bigger men who can, and do, practice yoga. Everyone has limitations, and a good yoga teacher, like Danielle Jarman of Sarasota, will help every student to do the best they can in spite of those limitations. They do this by steering their students toward modified poses when necessary and showing them how to focus on the sensation their body feels rather than its shape or silhouette.
Myth: There’s a lot of chanting and gongs and affirmation and incense and other hippie stuff.
Fact: Some folks find that creating a certain ambiance in the space where they practice complements and augments their experience of practicing yoga. But that’s absolutely not necessary; in order to practice yoga, you don’t have to do anything else besides practice yoga. If you don’t care for the atmosphere at a yoga studio, find another one or practice at home, where you can create your perfect space, no bells or prayer flags necessary.
Myth: Yoga belongs to a particular religion, and therefore Christians should not practice it.
Fact: This one isn’t exactly a “fact” per se, since the concept of religion is so very subjective and personal.
Everyone who considers getting into yoga will have to make up their own mind about it. But we can tell you that it’s quite possible to remove the religious aspect from the physical. Although yoga has its roots in Hinduism and is practiced by many Hindus and Buddhists around the globe, it is also practiced by Christians, Jews, atheists, even adherents to Pastafarianism who worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Daniele Jarman of Sarasota wants to remind you that yoga isn’t about worshipping a deity outside of ourselves. It’s about inner exploration.
Myth: It’s expensive to practice yoga, with all those fancy mats, blocks, bolsters, and clothing.
Fact: While it’s certainly possible to spend a sizeable chunk of change on pricey leggings and tank tops, yoga mats that run $100 and up, and oodles of accessories, none of that is necessary. You can practice in shorts and a t-shirt, in your pajamas, or in nothing at all (if you’re at home, that is!). Instead of a mat, use a beach towel or a carpet or the grass in your backyard. After all, yoga is an ancient tradition and yogis have been practicing their pranayamas and vinyasas for centuries without the benefit of high-performance clothing or slip-resistant mats.
We hope you’ve learned a little more about yoga by reading this post by Danielle Jarman of Sarasota, and that you are inspired to try yoga for yourself! Yoga isn’t the mystical, magical, exclusive club that some folks make it out to be. Rather, it’s a wonderful way to exercise and expand your body, breath, heart, and mind.