Yoga offers numerous health benefits, but there are some rumors about this ancient practice that need a little debunking. While it's obvious that regular Down Dogs won't cause instant enlightenment or help you live to 150, we'd like to dispel some persistent yoga myths before you step on your mat.
Hot Yoga Helps You Lose Weight
Certain types of yoga like Bikram and ashtanga are practiced in a heated room, and you end up sweating buckets. Weigh yourself after one of these intense classes, and after sweating so much you probably lost a couple pounds. This is only water weight and will quickly be "gained" back as soon as you rehydrate. While any type of exercise will help with weight loss, yoga is better for building muscle rather than burning calories. If it's pounds you're trying to drop, complement your yoga practice with cardio sessions.
It'll Give You Better Orgasms
Yoga improves sex right? Not exactly. I'm sorry to say hitting a few classes won't instantly turn you into a sex goddess and make your time under the sheets more satisfying. What practicing yoga can do is increase your flexibility, which increases your ability to try new and adventurous positions in the bedroom.
Continue reading to hear more yoga myths.
You Have to Be Flexible to Practice Yoga
When I describe the yoga class I teach, people often respond, "Oh, I'm not flexible enough to do yoga." Inflexibility is the exact reason to practice. In as little as five classes you'll notice your fingers are a little closer to your toes in a forward bend. No need to be an amazing yogi before setting foot in a studio, and forget being self-conscious about what you can't do. The more you practice, the more your body will find comfort in the poses.
Yoga Is Strictly For Relaxation
While some yoga is meant to definitely calm and destress, not all yoga delivers that result. If relaxation is your goal, look for classes that are flat out called "De-stress Yoga," or slower and lower impact types such as Kripalu or Iyengar. If a 90-minute class of calm is not your cup of tea, sign up for faster paced, more intense classes such as vinyasa, ashtanga, or jivamukti. If you're not sure what type of class it is by the name, ask the studio or the instructor directly.
Yoga Is Just For the Ladies
While it's true that in parts of the world, most classes are packed with estrogen, men do take classes and some even teach. Whether you're a guy or gal, yoga benefits everyone, and athletic males with tight hips and hamstrings will love how yoga makes them better at sports. If you're a guy who feels strange about being the only dude in a room full of women, look for classes taught by men, or take classes guys are more likely to sign up for like, "Yoga For Golfers," or "Yoga For Skiers and Riders."