Yoga is one of the most freeing ways to train your body and mind, regardless of one’s age, gender, religion, size, looks, flexibility, and/or fitness levels.

Each day stirs up a different feeling and each person’s practice is unique and individual to them—no judgment, no competition! As popular as yoga has become, it’s also gaining more than its fair share of flack with misinformed notions that are leading people astray. We aim to bust some myths and help give you clarity of thought about the practice.

Yoga Practitioners Are Not Hippies: To qualify as a yogi or yogini, you don’t have to renounce all material possession, unhealthy food, alcohol, or resort to dressing in simple cotton wear. The truth is, over time, you get more mindful of your body and mind and what they want and need, which is how you become more inclined to simpler ways of living and a healthier diet that complements the practice. As for clothing, harem pants, ganjis, and open-toed sandals are a personal choice, not a blanket style-statement for all yogis.

Yoga Is Not Just For Women: Sure, you’re likely to see more females taking up the practice, but that’s just because they feel inclined to do so. Their smaller build, innate flexibility, and wider range of motion lend themselves well to the asanas. That said, yoga is just as effective for men, and there are many new variants, like Broga, which are designed specifically for males, and incorporate strength building and endurance workouts, as opposed to the women-centric flexibility driven ones.

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Yoga Is Not Boring: Sure, we understand that the pulsating tunes of a gym or dance workout groove to a different tempo altogether, but it is only the traditional practices of yoga that are slower-paced (especially the ones geared toward meditation and breathing, not weight loss). From aerial and acro, to paddleboard and pole dancing yoga, the practice has many upbeat off-shoots and can give a traditional cardio class a run for its money.

With these things in mind, give yoga a chance, for it is a great way to contour the body, lose the flab, strength train, work on your spine and core, and de-stress your mind and body. If ever there was a practice worth putting your money on, this would be it.

PS: Here’s your one-stop guide to Yoga Asanas For Weight Loss.
Also, head here to catch the latest in Fitness Trends.

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Nisha Gulati is a fitness expert and model originally hailing from New Jersey, USA. She is a certified Bikram Hot Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Instructor, health and fitness columnist for Hyderabad’s widely read B Positive Magazine, a trained Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Bhangra, and giddha dancer. She also has trained in Kalaripayattu a martial arts form in Kerala. Yoga has been a source of great discipline, inspiration and positivity for Nisha who has been teaching at studios in Mumbai India, Phuket Thailand, Marina Dubai and Vancouver Canada.