Today I am going to roll up my sleeves and go through 3 myths I hear a lot in the modern yoga industry. They are many others, but I decided to start with 3 that effects a lot people with overachiever tendencies and a very sensitive heart.   

 Before we dive in, I would love to clarify something: this is my personal view, and of course the one you can find in the values of Corpo Giardino – Yoga Practices.  

I know that maybe, these are not going to land well for some of the readers. However,I think it’s essential to begin a constructive conversation even if we don’t agree. So, please reach out if you are interested in have a deeper conversation or demystify this believes.  

No matter if you just started practicing yoga, have a lot of years of practice or you are a yoga facilitator, it’s high likable that you encountered these 3 myths.  

 #1 “One should practice Yoga daily” *In this case for practice is meant the physical one. 

#2 “There are beginner, intermediate and advance positions”  

#3 “Good Vibes, only positive thoughts” 

 

Let’s have a look together! 

 

#1 “One should practice Yoga daily” 

 

As I said earlier, for “practicing Yoga” is often meant the physical practice: asanas, positions.  

Honestly, I did believe in this myth.  

I did believe that I had to step on my mat daily and go through a very intense, very physical weekly routine. I was lucky that in the school where I was, we were promoting a lot of variations and modifications of the poses.  

Even if I know I was on the safe side, after 7 years of teaching and practicing I experienced injuries coming from repetitive movements, especially in joints (like my wrists) that are not meant to be hold my weight. Not only I experienced myself, but I see these silent episodes of injuries, not coming from a traumatic event, but from overdoing.  

This was not even doing something good for my overachiever side, as I felt guilty if I skipped one day or didn’t go through a minimum 60’ of practice.  

The truth?  

  • We need Yoga as well we need strength and cardio in our week. I feel so much better and balance since I started to run or add pilates/work out during my week. I still practice intense sequence, but not daily and I am very carefull to go on my hands.  
  • The physical aspect of Yoga, Asanas, is only a small part of the big picture. There are so many aspects we are not giving the same importance in the western culture, such as: Breathing Techniques, Meditation, Yamas and Nyamas (ethical and self-inquiry behaviours) and so on… 

For me Yoga is a “skilful and mindful participations to the event of Life” as Coby Kozloswki says (http://www.cobyk.com) To reach that state we have a lot of tools (Asanas, Breath, Meditation etc..), but one is not better than the other.  

Since I started to listen to my needs and decide what to practice based on that, I feel way more balanced and aligned with myself: someday my practice is 10 minutes of journaling. Period.  

 At the end I do practice daily but I use a vast range of tools to touch different aspect of myself.  

What about you? Do you also practice daily? What’s Yoga for you? 

  

#2 “There are beginner, intermediate and advance positions” 

 

As long as we will define the positions as beginner, intermediate and advance, we will approach the practice in a performative way.  

I mean, have you ever looked on Instagram to the hashtag #yoga? It’s flooded with pictures of women (mostly wealthy, white and thin) performing a headstand or a very intense position.  The message that we receive that Yoga is nailing and handstand or twist your body is an impossible position 

The truth?  

  • Yoga is the journey to discover yourself, within yourself. No matter if you just started or you have years of practice on your shoulders. Every day we begin again.  
  • There is nowhere to go, there is only your body, mind and heart to explore thought your body.  

Of course, some of the poses require strength and flexibility, and it takes time and patience to open the body and built our inner strength: but they are not advance.  

 Respect to what? To whom?  

I saw many times students nailing a handstand (considered an advance position) but then struggling to stay seated with the eyes closed facing themselves.  

 

#3 “Good Vibes, only positive thoughts”  

I personally believe that this is a dangerous one, connected to what is called: spiritual bypass 

This term was coined by the late psychologist John Welwood in 1984. He describes it as the “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” 

I feel in this trap so many times. 

 And I still see a lot of my colleagues and students shifting in the good vibes only mood and deny completely difficult emotions.  

After years of therapy, I know the dangerous habit to hide or put under a rug my “negative” emotions: they don’t disappear, they grow and become a bomb.  

Another misconception is that a person who practices yoga shouldn’t feel anger or fear and they are considered “negative” emotions (does it sound familiar: “shift from fear to love?”).  

While it may not be helpful to live from anger or fear, bypassing them is not the answer: they are normal human emotions that will help you to survive in dangerous situations.  

Regarding then “good vibes only” “love and light approach” is considered toxic positivity, which can be shaming and alienating to those struggling with trauma, grief, mental health issues, or systemic injustice. 

 We are like a Picasso painting, so complex and articulated.  

The purpose of Yoga is to welcome also those difficult and painful parts, to feel them so that we can process them. To become whole 

 

Conclusion

I really would love to hear from you and your experience around these myths. I am writing about it because I am the first one who believed that.  

I love Yoga and all the benefits that we can take from it, but there is still a lot of bypass and privilege in this market and I am deeply committed to work on myself and with the community to support a healthy and realistic approach to Yoga. 

Are you with me? Let’s connect! 

With love 

Andrea  

PRACTICE LIVE WITH ME