Even as we observe the International Day of Yoga today, there are many misconceptions that we need to address. Mayur Karthik, Senior faculty, The Art of Living’s Sri Sri School of Yoga, helps bust some myths about yoga:

1. Yoga is religious:

It is not religious. It is a spiritual practice meant for people to be happier, healthier and more at peace with themselves. Though its origin is in India, it is widely practised by people of all religions the world over. Much like breathing, it has universal application. Yoga has no theology, churches or temples.

2. There is only one kind of Yoga

Yoga offers many different paths and ways for reaching that state of equanimity. There are different types of Yoga based on health condition and age-group. Various types of Yoga such as Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Prenatal Yoga etc are gaining wide prominence.

3. Yoga is a form of exercise

Yoga is often misinterpreted as limited to some sort of physical exercise or asanas. Yoga is much more than that. Yoga not only helps shape up your body but also your mind.

4. Benefits of Yoga are limited to only health

It is often misconstrued that Yoga benefits only from the health point of view. Yoga is how skilfully you can communicate and act in any given situation. Innovation, intuition, skills, and better communication — all these are the benefits of yoga. Yoga also enhances our work life and relationships. Yoga uplifts the behaviour of a person as behaviour is linked to stress. It creates a friendly disposition in people and improves our vibes.

5. Yogasanas can be taught by anyone

It needs proper training and a significant number of practice hours to understand the science behind this practice. While there are several instructors who teach Yoga, it is advisable that one learns Yoga under the supervision of a well-qualified teacher or organization as any wrong direction or guidance could be counter-productive for one’s overall well-being, and could even lead to physical injuries.

6. Yoga is age-bound

Yoga can be done by anyone irrespective of his/her age. There are modifications for each yoga pose. Yoga is practised both by the old and the young with the same zeal. There are Yogasanas for each age-group.

7. One needs to be flexible and slim to do Yogasanas

Everyone can do Yoga irrespective of one’s body shape and size. Yoga accepts you as you are. With consistent practice and patience, you will notice your flexibility improve by leaps and bounds.

8. Yoga is only for stress relief

Yoga can help treat several health ailments and conditions, be it diabetes, blood pressure, back pain, Thyroid, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Disease, Arthritis, Migraine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Liver problems, Kidney diseases etc.