Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Yoga

BY: ELISSA SALDANA

Without a doubt Yoga has become very popular. According to the Huffington Post, $27 billion industry increased popularity by a 29 percent between 2008 and 2012. Yoga has become the cool trendy thing to do. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at all the girls walking around campus in yoga pants.

Surprisingly, there are still some people who stay away from the practice because they erroneously believe in some of the myths surrounding the practice.

Myth #1: You Can’t Lose Weight or Get Toned Doing just Yoga

This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about the practice. And it’s simply not true. In fact, yoga can be a pretty challenging and intense workout.

“I believe yoga can be whatever you want it to be. There are so many ranges and styles of yoga that yoga can definitely be a workout,” said Jennie Shin, a yoga instructor at the SRWC. Shin has been practicing yoga for seven years and teaching for two years. “There is a lot of strengthening postures, there’s a lot of balancing, which can be a tough workout, and there is also a lot of core work.”

Yoga can also help you lose weight not just through the physical movements but through the mental benefits it provides. “Losing weight is not only a physical thing but I think it’s also an emotional blockage. So if you are able to become aware of your emotional blockages and penetrate that, and start healing those things, I think weight loss can happen,” said Shin.

Myth #2: You need Long Sessions of Yoga to get Benefits

While yoga classes at the SRWC are 60 minutes long, you don’t actually have to do yoga for that long to enjoy its benefits. Research shows that a 20-minute session can increase brain function by improving working memory, focus, and by speeding up information process.

That’s right, 20 minutes only! And while many of us are very busy trying to keep up with school assignments, work, internships, and our social life, we can all make a 20 minute pause to squeeze in a yoga session. That’s not only going to benefit us physically, but it will also help us focus on studying for that upcoming midterm.

Myth #3: Yoga is only for Women

So not true! If you go back thousands of years ago to yoga’s humble beginnings, you might be surprised to learn that yoga was almost exclusively a man’s practice. It wasn’t until the westernization of yoga that it became a female-dominated practice.

But the truth is more men are beginning to discover the many physical and mental benefits of this practice. Nowadays NFL, NBA and MLB athletes are starting to incorporate yoga to their exercise routines because it makes them more effective performers and balanced individuals. The SRWC even offers a yoga class specifically for athletes on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. So guys, don’t be intimidated by all the ladies in the studio. You can get your yoga on, too.

So there you have it. If you are looking for a workout that benefits both mind and body, check out one of the many yoga classes offered at the SRWC. Those who don’t have time for a full hour session can also download one of the many free yoga cell phone apps that offer free short yoga sessions you can do pretty much anytime, anywhere. All you need is space for a mat.