As a yogini with a well-developed sense of humor, I can laugh heartily at all the myths out there about us. Here are my five favorite Yoga Misnomers, because hey, we all love lists and it can be funny when people make blanket statements.
5 Yoga Myths + Misnomers:
1. Ew, isn’t yoga that tantric stuff?! They’re all a bunch of sex-crazed pervs!
Read up on Brahmacharya (moderation/celibacy) and get back to me on that one. But while your nose is buried in the Yoga Sutras, make sure to periodically look over your shoulder. I might be sneaking up to have my way with you! Rawwwwrr!
2. Look out for those crazy yogis! They’re into cults! Aaackk!!
There are yoga teachers who have a cult-like following, but we’re all on our own paths, with our own souls and minds. We love yoga. We’re dedicated to living a life by the 8 Limbs. This makes us wiser, kinder, more giving people. If this is a cult, you really might want to join. Don’t worry, we serve herbal tea, not Kool-Aid.
3. We abstain from bathing, but pile on the patchouli.
Somehow we get lumped in with (some) hippies of the 60s: yogis are hippy-dippy, dirty, and that sort of nonsense. Truth: We’re probably the cleanest people you’ll ever meet. We have to be. We sweat in our kick-asana classes, our mats get lots of action, so we wash them, too, and we’re generally fastidious beings. Also, we smell like lavender. Get it right.
4. We eat weird things.
Hmmm. I suppose spirulina, kale, and chia seeds could be considered strange, but if you knew how good they were for you, it would seem perfectly logical to incorporate them into your daily chow. Part of living the life of a yogi/yogini is keeping the body healthy and honoring it like the temple it is. We think it’s weird that you muggles like to eat crushed bugs (a component of red food dye), animal collagen (aka gelatin, found in gummy bears, marshmallows, jello, and a million other things), and calf stomachs (in all non-rennetless cheese). Ick!
5. We are all the offspring of Gumby.
This is semi-truthful for me, except I’m not green (sadly, a non-dominant genetic trait). I have a natural tendency toward bendiness, enhanced by a dance and sports background. That said, I know many, many yogis and yoginis who started out stiff as a board and with a little tenacity can now rock Kapotasana and Krounchasana with the best of them.
What silly myths or stereotypes have you met on your yogic path?
photo credit: Yoga Direct