Last post, Yoga Meeting: The First Time – I presented a casual meeting that I ‘d carried out with somebody at the very start of yoga practice. I ‘d wanted to know what it was that’d actually kept him from trying yoga before, how he felt now that he’d actually started, and exactly what he felt would be essential in order for him to continue with his practice. His responses were candid and disclosed what I think is an underrepresented problem in North America – the way in which yoga is perceived by the general public.

men doing yoga

I’ve actually heard my interviewee’s beliefs revealed before, and with enough frequency that I think that they are fairly generalizable. There are multiple mistakes drifting about in the general public ether with regard to yoga, which I feel has much to do with the fact that, in the West, yoga has actually been mostly torn from its original context. We have been presented to yoga-as-workout, with numerous people associating working out itself with ‘box’ health clubs and the titanic spectres of Schwarzenegger, Reeves, and Zane.

Related expectations regarding traditional fitness have normally been encompassed yoga – that it’s competitive, that it’s to be agonizing in order to be worthwhile, that it’s to be regimented, which it’s largely concerned with visual appeals. It’s truly unfortunate that the ‘eightfold course’ has gone largely ignored, it contextualizes physical sadhana such that visually concentrated competitors becomes a little bit of an oddity. When asanas are seen properly as devices to be used together with other disciplines in order to attain a healthier, more aware lifestyle, it’s nearly impossible to approach yoga class with a sense of individual inadequacy or insecurity.

It just simply can’t have to do with determining up to another person, due to the fact that the most important work to be performed in, and advantages to be had from, total yogic practice are internal, they simply can’t be experienced by, or as compared to, any individual else. Similarly, if one comprehends that the asanas are developed to augment mental/emotional work, the success which is based not upon extremity however upon fragile balance, then pushing oneself to the point of dislocation (I cringe each time I hear the stating ‘no pain, no acquire’ put on yoga) ends up being genuinely improper. It appears to me that a greater awareness of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of yoga would help to loosen the regrettable perceptual tie between gym-based fitness and yogic practice, and would encourage more reticent novices to get more information.

I need to make it plain that I have worked in gyms for several years as a fitness instructor and that I pursued non-competitive body building. I’d be the very first to firmly insist that there’s enormous value in gym-based fitness, when approached with standard education and respect for one’s body. My own life enhanced tremendously when I became involved in strength training, and I have seen it change clients’ lives. That being said, there are prejudgments about this sort of fitness that, as far as I am concerned, are a bit anachronistic. They apply in just a restricted sense nowadays to ‘routine’ workouts, and not at all to yoga.

There’s the idea that grit-toothed, red-faced agony is a prerequisite to success. There’s the belief that weight-training is the rightful province of guys, and aerobics that of females, because the visual outcomes of either set of activities are proper for one sex but not the other. I’ll avoid a long digression here, and say merely that these concepts stem from malfunctioning information and inadequate understanding of human physiology. In lots of ways, these concepts apply to the physical, visual results of gym regimens, and not to total health.

It’s crucial to understand the practice of asanas in its rightful context – as an aid to general individual development, and not to appearance alone. It seems essential to me to introduce the public to the distinctions between ‘traditional’ workouts and yoga practice, the intimidation of the former has actually unfortunately sneaked into the latter, and has actually kept many people from taking part in a form of detailed wellness from which everybody can quickly benefit.