Yoga is here to stay. The $27 billion industry is practiced by over 21 million U.S. adults, according to a survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Despite its ever growing following, several myths still hold water, even amongst devoted yogis. Let's debunk some common myths and get you on (or back to) the mat.
1. Yoga is not a workout
When most people think of yoga they think of calming, seated poses and forget that there are many types of yoga designed to offer a full body practice. Take one power, Ashtanga or heated class and you will become a convert. These disciplines increase your heart rate while improving respiration, help balance metabolism, build full body strength and burn calories.
2. Yoga is too expensive
A lot of people get turned off from yoga because they believe the financial commitment will be more than they can handle. Many studios offer introductory packages for new students. Plus, anyone with a computer can find either free classes via YouTube or affordable online yoga services. Better yet, once a yogi develops their skills they can design a practice curated to their specific needs.
3. Yoga is too much of a time commitment
Completing a 60-90 minute class can feel like an accomplishment but for those that are short on time this is not always an option. Even a short, 20 minute yoga practice can provide results. Research shows that just 20 minutes of yoga can improve memory and brain function related to focus and new information retention.
4. Men don't practice yoga
In ancient times yoga was only practiced by men. It is only in this country that we think of it is a female-only activity. The truth is more men are showing up in classes and realizing the benefits of increased muscle strength, improved performance in other sports and less injury.
5. Pregnant women should refrain from practicing yoga
The opposite is true, yoga during pregnancy can significantly reduce stress and contribute to a healthier pregnancy. Prenatal yoga can decrease the risk of depression, back pain and nausea. A 2012 study found that when pregnant women practiced yoga for one hour, three times a week, the risks of low birth weight babies, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure were decreased. To get the most out of your yoga experience, shop for yoga gear online and make yoga apart of your daily routine.