Myth 1: Yoga comes from Hinduism.
Yoga is Hindu just the way gravity is Christian. Just because the law of gravity was propounded by Isaac Newton, who lived in a Christian culture, does it make gravity Christian? Yoga is a technology. Anybody who is willing to make use of it can make use of it.
Why the yogic sciences have gotten labeled as Hindu by a few ignorant people is because this science and technology grew and prospered in this culture, so naturally it has gotten associated with the Hindu way of life. The word Hindu has come from the word Sindhu, which is a river. Because this culture grew from the banks of the river Sindhu or Indus, this culture got labeled as Hindu. Hindu is not an ism, it is not a religion. It is a geographical and cultural identity.
Myth 2: Why be a human when you can be a pretzel? Yoga is all about impossible postures.
When we utter the word yoga, most people on the planet only think of asanas. Of all the different things that the science of yoga explores just about every aspect of life todays world has chosen to represent yoga with only the physical aspect. In the yogic system, there is very little significance given to asanas. For a little over two hundred Yoga Sutras, only one sutra is dedicated to asanas. But somehow, in modern times, this one sutra has gained significance over everything else.
The practice as you see it, the mechanics of it, is simply of the body. You have to breathe life into it; otherwise it will not become alive.
The yogic system is a subtle manipulation of your system to allow it to rise to a different level. Yoga means that which allows you to attain to your higher nature. Every asana, every mudra, every way of breathing everything is focused towards this.
Myth 3: Want six-pack abs? Yoga is a great exercise regime.
If fitness is what you are seeking, if you want six-pack abs or whatever number, I would say go and play tennis or hike in the mountains. Yoga is not an exercise; it has other dimensions attached to it. A different dimension of fitness yes you get health out of it, but not six-pack abs. If you are doing yoga to burn calories or tone up your muscle, obviously you are doing improper yoga; there is no question about that. For abs, you can go to the gym. Yoga needs to be practiced in a very subtle, gentle way, not in a forceful muscle-building way, because this is not about exercise.
Myth 4: Find your groove. Yoga & music go well.
There should never be a mirror or music when you practice asanas. Hatha yoga demands a certain involvement of your body, mind, energy and the innermost core. If you want to get the involvement of that which is the source of creation within you, your body, your mind, your energy must be absolutely involved. You should approach it with a certain reverence and certain focus. Not just going, playing music and doing something. One of the biggest problems in yoga studios is, the teacher is doing asanas and speaking. This is a sure way to cause damage to you.
No talking in the asana is not just a norm, it is a rule. You never ever speak in postures. The breath, the mental focus and the stability of energy is most important when you are doing the asana. If you speak, you will destroy all that.
Myth 5: Yoga is only a Post Retirement Plan.
It is believed that yoga is for old and not the young. Don’t the young live their life? Don’t the young people have any tension; don’t they fall and get hurt, or catch cold and cough? Then how can we say it is not for the young? Yoga starts from the womb itself.
Myth 6: Yoga is the last respite for the sick and the ailing.
People come to yoga only when all other avenues are closed. When you have a heart problem and the doctors say nothing can be done, then you come to yoga. If you could have come to yoga earlier, things would have been very different. You would not fall sick and if you do, you would have been able to handle it yourself
Myth 7: Yoga is for the Recluse living in the Himalayas.
Earlier people used to think only Yogis, Sanyasis, etc. practiced yoga. But yoga is for every human. A recluse would use different techniques whereas householders would use a different technology. But yoga is definitely a science of living.