When I first began to practice yoga, I was unknowingly caught up in what I refer to as, “The Yoga Fallacy”. Every now and then even to this day, I find myself caught right back up in this web of untruths. At times, I find my self so far off path that I wonder how in the world I’ll ever make it back.
So what in the world is this fallacy I speak of ?
HERE IT GOES…
In my eyes, social media and the emphasis on “picture perfect” moments heavily contribute to this condition. Yogis (and yoginis!) Have the wrong idea of what yoga is and it can interfere with your personal practice. This fallacy makes you believe that yoga is solely about being flexible, bendy and able to do handstands. I can’t even count the number of times that someone has told me that they can’t practice yoga because, “they aren’t flexible enough”. Although bendyness and headstands are great benefits of the yoga practice,they aren’t the only components and you’re missing the bigger picture. At this point, you might as well be practicing gymnastics.
But I’m not here to bash gymnastics (I am an ex-gymnast after all)! I’m just here to point out that gymnastics is a different art in itself. It is an art that is largely about skill,strength, talent and aesthetics. An art, like all art forms that should be respected and loved for what it truly is in all of its glory.
Yoga however is a completely different art form to be appreciated. Yes you can make beautiful shapes with your body and learn to lift your own body weight, but Yoga has a large mental component that deserves an equal emphasis if you are looking at this art for what it really is.
In fact, according to the Ashtanga yoga practice (very popular in the west and familiar to most American yogis) there are 8 limbs of yoga where asana or poses only make up one limb! The eight limbs include…
1. Yamas (ethical ways of living)
2. Niyamas (personal observances/spiritual observances)
3. Asana (Physical Postures)
4. Pranayama (Controlling the breath)
5. Pratyahara (Sensory withdrawal)
6. Dharana (“Decluttering” the mind or concentration)
7. Dhyana (Meditation, “quiet mind”)
8. Samadi (Pure ecstacy or oneness with all living beings)
To be a yogini or yogi, is to practice kindness, love, non-harm, even breathing, balance and clearing out the junk in your life to make space for what truly matters.
Another component of this fallacy stems in yoga clothing and props. To be a true yogi, you do NOT need that cool looking shirt, those $90 yoga pants or this and that yoga prop. I used to be wrapped up in the idea that if I didn’t have those cool yoga leggings that I simply wasn’t good enough in the yoga world. This is so far from the truth that even as I write this I laugh at how ridiculous it is of I to even have this thought!
This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate yoga props or clothing or use them but only to say that you don’t need any of it to practice yoga. These companies exist to offer products and clothes that make your physical practice more accessible, comfortable or as a fashion statement.
As a yogi, I do my best to practice non-judgment and realize that although yoga is something that goes much deeper for me than a workout, I respect others who simply practice for the physical benefits. If someone walks out of my class right before savasana or the final resting posture I will never think poorly of that person. Yoga to some is largely about meditation, others a way to relax and for some a means to sweat. At the end of the day, it is a personal practice that is unique and wonderful to each individual and that within itself is beautiful.
As I say in a majority of my classes….WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT<3
Namaste, Kay ❤
P.S. Please feel free to comment below, follow me on Instagram at NamasteKayYoga or ask me any questions! I’m open to ANYTHING. Thanks for reading.
P.P.S. Pictured at the top of this post is a photo of me in my head stand. From an outsiders perspective all you see is the “final product”. When in fact it took over 2 years for me to learn how to breathe evenly, remain meditative and physically bring myself into a headstand. Nothing great happens overnight, you must grow a little every day to get where you want to be.