Yoga In The Media VS Yoga In Real Life
The media has a lot to say about yoga. While some of these claims are true, such as reducing stress, increasing flexibility, and building strength, some of them are just plain false. Headlines such as “Practice Yoga and Never Have a Negative Thought Again” or “Ten Yoga Poses to Lose Ten Pounds” make me want to gag and throw up all over my cute little yoga mat. I know I’m exaggerating but you get the point. I’m not saying that yoga isn’t an extremely powerful tool in healing your body and mind because IT IS. What I am saying is that sometimes the media glorifies the practice of yoga and turns it into something that’s it not. My goal today is to debunk these media myths and give you a sneak peek into what real life yoga ACTUALLY looks like.
The Media: You need a coordinating legging and sports bra outfit in order to do yoga.
The Truth: The best yoga is done in your pajamas!
When I scroll through the Instagram yoga world, all I see are overpriced, brightly colored yoga outfits on size 0 bodies. Bright pink leggings with bright pink sports bras! Turquoise spandex with a turquoise top! Clothes that fit just right on bodies that are hardly attainable. While I’m sure this is a great marketing tool and a persuasive way for clothing companies to make some big bucks, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a perfect outfit for a perfect yoga practice.
In your jammies? Do some yoga.
In a swimsuit? Do some yoga.
In a shirt that has spit up on it from your baby? Do some yoga.
It doesn’t matter what you WEAR to the practice; it matters that you SHOW UP to the practice.
The Media: Yoga is for people who are calm.
The Truth: Yoga is for the hotheads!
Want to know a secret? I’m a yoga teacher and I’m not calm. In fact, I’m the furthest thing from it which is exactly why I do yoga in the first place! While I’m sure it’s nice to be naturally easygoing and go with the flow, I just wasn’t wired that way. While the media might tell you that you need to be perfectly zen in order to do yoga, I’m here to tell you that the less zen you are, the more yoga can help! You see, yoga is not just for the calm people, it’s for the anxious people who are looking to be a bit more relaxed. The businessman trying to sneak in a few moments of silence. The busy mom who needs a soft spot to exhale. So who cares if you’re a hippie or a hothead?? Show up to yoga and it will show up for you.
The Media: Every pose will look beautiful and effortless.
The Truth: There are lots of rolls in some poses!
What do you see when you look at pictures of yogis in the media? Usually straight lines and flat stomachs and skin with no traces of cellulite. While I’m sure that’s true for some people (bless their genetics), it’s not for a lot of others.
The truth is that when you do a forward fold, your stomach will probably roll over and it will make you feel uncomfortable. This happens to everyone and I promise, it’s okay.
Or how about when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and your face is as red as a cherry tomato? Looks like you’re working hard! Keep going, it’s okay.
Or when you settle into a pigeon pose and notice the soft skin rolling over on your thighs. Trust me, trust me: it’s okay.
Bodies are meant to have curves and rolls and some poses might bring those out more than others. It doesn’t make you “fat” or “unworthy” or someone who doesn’t have a “yoga body” (whatever THAT is??) If you have a body, show up to yoga (and some cute little rolls might show up too!)
The Media: If you do yoga, you’ll never be sad again.
The Truth: If you do yoga, you’ll be happy and sad just like every other human being on this planet.
While yoga helps with quieting down your negative thoughts, it doesn’t completely get rid of them. You see, every mind has an inner mean girl. Yoga might help shut her up for a while, but she’ll rear her ugly head once again. What yoga does do is give you a tool to help with the negative thoughts and emotions when they do come up (which they will.) Being a yogi doesn’t mean you’re always happy and calm 24/7; it means that you have the awareness to truly feel each and very emotion without judgment or attachment. It means that you can treat yourself with love and compassion even when you are having negative thoughts or emotions. So while yoga won’t completely get rid of uncomfortable emotions like anger or sadness, it will help you be a little more comfortable while sitting with those emotions!
As you can see, there’s a wide gap between the yoga portrayed in the media and the yoga that actually occurs in real life. And while I’m ecstatic that the media exists because it introduces people to yoga, there is no possible way that it can encapsulate the beautiful and ancient practice that yoga is.
Real yoga must be felt in your heart.
Real yoga must be experienced in your body.
Real yoga happens on your mat, in your life – pajamas and tears and tummy rolls and all!
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