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Quiz: Yoga Myths and Misconceptions

Think You Know Yoga Fact from Fiction?

Born in India over 5000 years ago, Yoga is, relatively speaking, a recent adoption for Westerners. Yet, over the years, a myriad of yoga myths and misconceptions have taken hold.

How much do you really know about yoga? Take this quiz to find out:

1. Myth or Fact?

Yoga is only for women.

women only: yoga myth

photo credit: www.localfitness.com.au

If you were around in the 90s, you may be familiar with this common yoga myth — that men take yoga simply to meet women. These days it’s abundantly clear that men seek yoga for stretching, posture improvement, relaxation — and yes, even a challenging workout.

Do you still think it’s easy or girly? These Army men sure don’t!

Sgt._Gurdev_Singh_leads_U.S._soldiers_in_a_Yoga_exercise

Image credit: Sgt. Matthew T MacRoberts

Verdict: MYTH. Yoga is not just for the ladies.

2. Myth or Fact?

Yoga is too spiritual.

old_yoga_art

Spiritual, Medical, or…?

You don’t have to study The Yoga Sutras in India to enjoy yoga. While most yoga instructors also practice the spiritual aspects of this discipline on their own, their classes (unless specified) will most likely focus on the physical.

That’s not to say you won’t be able to find spiritually minded yoga communities and classes out there. Many seek yoga’s health benefits (for both mind and body). In fact, yoga is often considered a type of medicine.

Even the American Heart Association lists the benefits of meditation and mindfulness to battle stress and heart disease. Others use it to help insomnia and depression.

Verdict: Neither FACT nor MYTH. It’s as spiritual as you want it to be.

For an interesting and entertaining exposé into Western society’s need for spirituality, check out this award winning film, Kumaré:

3. Myth or Fact?

You have to be flexible to do yoga.

Imagine the stiffness that comes from prolonged sitting or the lack of a good, post-workout stretch. That’s certain muscle groups telling you they are either over-worked or under-worked. That’s a loss of flexibility.

Now, here’s the good news: While at first, yoga may seem challenging to a stiff body, a qualified instructor can help you modify poses with props (straps, blocks or bolsters).

yoga_props

yoga props: www.gaiam.com

Don’t worry: Using props won’t hamper the benefits of yoga one iota.

Use them as long as you need them. There is no judgement in that; it’s all part of the practice. Keep at it, and soon you’ll gain flexibility, strength, poise… maybe even without props!

Verdict: MYTH. You don’t have to be flexible, but you may become flexible.

4. Myth or Fact?

Yoga requires a gym, classes & special clothes.

Absolute beginners definitely benefit from learning yoga through a trained teacher. However, once you learn to do the postures correctly, you certainly don’t need a gym or fancy clothes. The beauty of yoga is that it uses your own body and gravity to hold the poses. You can do it anywhere, in anything.

No shoes, no shirt, no problem!

Acro_Yoga_Floating_Paschi_Pose

photo: Earl J McGehee

Verdict: MYTH. You don’t need a gym or fancy clothes to do yoga — only your body.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short quiz. Tell us how you ranked in discerning myth from fact. Or share any yoga misconceptions you’ve encountered along the way…!

In the meantime, stay fit, stay healthy, stay T-Squared.