5 Myths about Yoga, Debunked
Okay, we admit it. Chicks seem to dig the sport (can it even be classified as sport if it's not in the Olympics?) a lot more than the men do so yoga has unexpectedly garnered itself the rep that it's a girly exercise to do. Real men sweat it out at the gym, toss tyres and do manly things like Muay Thai or Krav Maga because these exercises actually improve strength and yoga doesn't. Or so you think.
Here are five myths the general public has about doing yoga, debunked:
1) Yoga is too slow and gentle to build strength
Erm. Are you kidding me? A group of journalists and I woke up at the crack of dawn to do some yoga together with model-turned-rebel yoga instructor Tara Stiles, who was in town to launch her exclusive in-room yoga workouts (Fit with Tara Stiles) for the W Hotel chain. A hodgepodge of fitness types were present, from the visibly unfit to the tyre-tossing biceped. However, when we moved into the half push-up position, it was clear that most of us (if not all) were struggling. We were visisbly shaking. Stiles on the other hand, though slim and lanky, looked ridiculously effortless. How is she doing this? She looks like she's barely got any muscle at all! Turns out, as slim as Stiles is, she is surprisingly strong. "You get really strong with yoga because you're consistently holding your body up and pressing it into different poses," she explained. "You end up with really strong core muscles, which is important for any other sport."
2) You need to be flexible to do yoga
If you can't touch your toes, don't even try. If you subscribe to that belief than you're as good as giving up before you even begin. Flexibility comes with yoga. The more you stretch, press, and push yourself into positions and poses, the more flexible you become. It's as simple as that
3) Hot yoga is the best
That's like saying that there's only one type of ice cream flavour out there. I know I probably shouldn't be talking about ice cream while writing a post about yoga but the stomach wants what the stomach wants. Deal with it. The varieties of yoga classes out on the market at the moment is rather diverse, ranging from hot (AKA Bikram) to power, Hatha to Ashtanga. There is no such thing as a right type or the best type. Instead, try a handful of them out and find out which type resonates best with you. The last thing you want to do is start skipping classes because you dread them.
4) Yoga is completely risk-free
It's just stretching right? I mean, how bad can it possibly get? Yoga is no rugby, that's a fact. But while injury risk from yoga is low, it can cause certain types of stroke or pain from nerve damage, according to American's National Institutes of Health. Stiles' yoga ethos is unique, unlike most of the yoga classes I have attended. She focuses a lot more on the idea of listening to your body and modifying poses according to your skill level. "Don't push yourself if it doesn't feel right," she instructed us during the class, demonstrating multiple alternative poses for us to resume if we found the original too taxing on our bodies.
5) Yoga is only effective when practised in a 60 to 90-minute class
Sure, the accomplishment is much more gratifying when you've completed an hour-long yoga session but just because you don't have an hour to spare, doesn't mean you should stay off the mat. Each W Hotel room worldwide comes equipped with a yoga mat and a series of Tara Stiles yoga videos on Channel 1. The video tutorials range from a simple stretch to relieve tight muscles that tend to plague travellers to a more intensive morning stretch for travellers who would like to start the morning right.