In yoga, we have these things called the yamas and niyamas that are meant to guide our lives. It's good stuff, things you'd do (or not do) if you want to be a good person anyway, you know? Don't harm others, don't steal, have discipline, take time for self-reflection, tell the truth...
As basic as they may seem, we all struggle with one or another. And yoga teachers? Well, we don't always tell the truth, especially when we're trying to get you to pay attention to something, to buy something, or click on something.
The following list is really just a bunch of white lies we tell you because it's our job to motivate you to keep practicing. We don't want you to get discouraged. We want you to COME BACK to your classes. However good intentions, a lie is a lie (besides, you're smart people and you probably know the truth anyway) so let's set the record straight.
Lie #1. "There's no prize when you can _ press up to Handstand/backbend so deeply the back of your head touches the bottoms of your feet/ put your leg behind your head__." There are many prizes or we wouldn't spend so much time trying to accomplish these feats, now would we? The most meaningful prize is the satisfaction of knowing you're growing and progressing. Then there's the confidence you might feel when you've made that progress (sometimes you'll also get an inflated ego—there's a fine line). And now that people are all social-media crazed, there's also the many followers who you can attract to your accounts and, if you're really savvy, free products, endorsement deals, and book and DVD deals, and more. Will it help you reach enlightenment? No. Will it make you healthier, more Zen, a better person? Nope. But is there a prize? Yes. There is a prize.
Lie #2. "These 10 poses will magically make you __sleep like a baby/melt your stresses/fix your back pain/lower your blood pressure/change your life__." This is a headline I see on yoga blogs ALLLL the time (and I know I'm guilty of it, too!) because people click on them like crazy. Of course! We all want to be able to fix all sorts of problems we've accumulated in our bodies and our lives through years of bad habits, bad alignment, inattention, etc. And a cocktail of 10 poses might make a difference if you practice them religiously every day for, say, at least 3 months or so. But one time (which is the implication of the headline, isn't it?)? Sorry, Loves. Yoga is not a magic pill. And it sure as hell isn't a short cut. It takes time, and usually lots of it, to see results.
Lie #3. Everything is yoga. It's a sweet idea, isn't it? That you don't have to get on your mat each day to be practicing yoga because yoga isn't just poses, after all, it's a way of life. So, you can be mindful throughout your day and it's just as good as a two-hour asana practice. This is a lie I've told my students, and it's a lie I've told myself to justify NOT PRACTICING. And you know what? While it's absolutely beneficial to "practice yoga off the mat" it is NOT THE SAME. It just isn't. Because I run around like a crazy person trying to check things off my to-do list all day every day, I need to work off my crazy energy in order to calm my mind. I need to prepare my body to take a quiet seat—whether that's on my meditation cushion or just on my couch at the end of the day. You have to DO THE WORK. There's no way around it. Get. On. Your. Mat.
You know I'm right.