After the relative calm of August, September marks the beginning of the always-bananas fall. It’s no wonder that this is also National Yoga Month—we can all use a reminder to take a few deep breaths. And, while the Birchbox eds are big yogis (at home and on the road) we know there are plenty of you who are yet to be sold. That’s why we asked the experts Pure Yoga in New York for tips on finding your yoga groove. Managing teacher Terrence Monte already told us how to find our yoga match, now he’s dispelling five rampant myths.
Myth #1: You can’t do yoga if you’re not flexible
I don’t go to the dentist because my teeth are terrible. But that’s not a reason not to do it. Going to the dentist will markedly improve your teeth. Going to yoga will markedly improve your flexibility NOW and in the future. Stop waking up with soreness, tightness, and back pain. Come do yoga.
Myth #2: You have to be crunchy granola to love yoga
It’s true. Some yogis are vegans, wear burlap, and apply patchouli instead of deodorant. But, on the flip side, there are also plenty of yogis who were once in finance or engineering (present company included) or owned a business. These yogis are relatable and down to earth, and won’t force you to go vegan. They might ask you to “Om,” but they also won’t make you feel stupid for faking it. If you don’t want to chant, don’t; if you don’t want to meditate, don’t. But this is two minutes of a 60-minute class that might actually change the way you feel about your body and your life. Find a teacher who resonates with you.
Myth #3: Yogis will judge me for eating meat or drinking alcohol
If a yoga teacher is judging you for your lifestyle, that’s their issue. Yoga would never tell you to live a certain way; yoga would simply ask you to look at your choices and take responsibility for them. You want to eat meat and drink alcohol? Be my guest! Just understand you’re choosing to live that way and make your peace with it. Now get your butt in my class.
Myth #4: Yoga won’t fit in to my religious outlook
Yoga isn’t a cult, nor is it a religion. It is true that yoga probably originated in India/Tibet, and that sometime after that the Hindus practicing yoga started to incorporate their deities into their practice. But yoga isn’t a religion. Nor is it necessarily spiritual (although it can be, and frankly, this is one of the biggest attractors of this system over, say, spin classes or barre classes). There are plenty of spiritual types of yoga but there are plenty of classes that don’t preach at you. Find the style that aligns with you. And take something outside your comfort zone once in a while. You just might learn something new about yourself.
Myth #5: Yoga is all stretching
Yoga is a resistance workout, and probably the best one on the planet. There is definitely stretching (or what yogis would call “floor work”) built into the class. We want you to have injury-free, flexible bodies. But there is also quite a bit of muscle strengthening as well (it’s called Chaturanga). Any good class will have a healthy balance of these two things. We want functional, lean muscle.
Now that we’ve dispelled these yoga myth’s, find the perfect class for you.