Fitness Book Review: Exposing Yoga Myths

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With all the home exercise options out there, it can be a little overwhelming. YouTube, Instagram, ZOOM classes… But what if you just want to do your own thing?

For the past few months, I started us off with the Train Like A WLF podcasts to familiarize you with — from the breath to the burn — how home workouts should really work.

But now we need to get into specifics, because otherwise, one of us is going to run into educated tangents. (Spoiler: it’s probably me.)

I want you to stock your home fitness locker with useful mental gear. And if I started you off with the breath, then I can’t not start you off here with Exposing Yoga Myths.

Yoga is one of the most popular disciplines to turn to during a time of stress. The postures are simple, direct, and would seem to be universally user-friendly.*

However, yoga is a great way to mess yourself up if you’re doing it wrong.

If you don’t have enough preexisting muscle fiber to literally keep your muscles on your skeleton, and keep your connective tissue in place, then you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to feel worse after a practice.

I would know. Why else do you think a flexy lil’ taekwondo girl would get into deadlifting? Because the wonderful loosey-goosey feeling from pure yoga stretching left my legs literally stretched out.

The same thing happens to muscles as when you stretch out a piece of fabric — it doesn’t snap right back into place. Kicking in TKD, and any martial art, require the muscles to pull themselves back into place immediately afterwards. (No one wants to be that guy whose leg gets grabbed in midair. That’s only funny on TikTok.)

Yoga without strength training can also wreak havoc on your hips and back by reducing their ability to support themselves and maintain your core integrity.

But that’s the brilliance of Exposing Yoga Myths. Within the first few pages, you’ll already reap the benefit of the combined knowledge of Melissa, Ariana, and Kim. Their experience will shortcut you the years of frustrating — not to mention embarrassing! — experiences I had with my own practice to discover how the body actually functions in relation to yoga training.

They also give you unfiltered descriptions of the pitfalls of popular yoga culture, which further serves you as an immune booster to any woo-woo or mumbo-jumbo you might encounter when you do your own yogic explorations. This pairs beautifully with specific examples they give on what could go wrong — for example, how most people end up overstretching the lumbar or hamstrings in Downward Dog — and how to avoid it, delivered all in a tone that’s both relatable and hilarious**.

So get it. Read it. Absorb it.

And may you never fall into any YouTube yoga traps. (Do however, get yourself into some Trap Yoga. Heck yes.)

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy my take on fitness, you can train with me virtually anywhere in the world at Work Life Fitness, and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter — I might even have a YouTube channel that shows you how to DownDog without overstretching those hams. (And if you really enjoy my take on fitness, then check out The Miracle on 98th Street for a shadowboxing memoir that kicks The Bell Jar out of the ring.)

*Or at least, more user-friendly than my personal favorites, Animal Flow from Global Bodyweight Training or Vitamin by Gold Medal Bodies. Despite that these amazing practices stem mostly from yoga, they also require just enough hand-eye coordination to be off-putting to individuals learning their bodies in a steadily-less-quarantined environment. If I include a detour like this in the review, it’s to let you know before anything else that you do have other options than yoga, if you are ever so inclined. The human body is made to stretch in more than one way.

**To the Virgos following me: please be understanding that yes, Exposing Yoga Myths contains grammar and editing that are — to be diplomatic — human. But trust me, the truth and information in there are worth it.

NYC trainer, founder of Work Life Fitness, and here to troubleshoot your food and fitness problems.

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