There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the practice of yoga. Here we help to separate fact from fiction, and hopefully in the process convince you to try this healthy mind-body workout.
Most certainly not. As with any physical activity, you start from where you are and build from there. While practising yoga will certainly help you become more flexible and you'll be stretching your muscles, there's nothing to say you have to be flexible to start. Much of yoga, in fact, revolves around the breath work — it's not at all about being able to stretch your ankles behind your head.
While classes can ring in at about $20 per class in some studios, buying a number of classes at once will reduce the price per class a smidgen. Alternatively, practise with an app on your mobile phone, or with a DVD. There are many free options as well: Borrow a book from the library that outlines the proper poses, or search online for a free streaming video of a yoga workout.
Yoga isn't necessarily all about meditation. Depending on the type of yoga practice you choose, some are extremely physical. Ashtanga and vinyasa yoga are both very dynamic and require much athleticism. And consider Bikram yoga, where you practice in a heated room — adding yet another challenging element to the workout. Also, although you might consider the breath work of yoga easy, it is intense and requires much focus to master.
If by dull, you mean slow, there is some truth to that. Some types of yoga do call for holding a pose for several minutes at a time — a restorative class, for example. And some people who have a hard time with this pace will find this type of yoga dull. But, as mentioned above, there are much more dynamic practices, such as vinyasa and ashtanga, in which one posture flows into the next — and some studios even have classes set to Top 40 music.
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