5 Lies of Western Yoga

December 8, 2013

My fellow yogis, we have been “bamboozled, led astray and run amuck” by the lies of western yoga.

Don't let the yoga lies stop you from living better!

Don’t let the yoga lies stop you from living better!


Many people have suffered in silence because of the common yoga stereotypes. I am here to dispel the 5 popular myths that keep people off the yoga mat.


LIE #1 Yoga is all about flexibility.

Design a yoga practice that works for you!

Design a yoga practice that works for you!

TRUTH#1 Yoga is about longevity.

The goal of a yoga practice is to yoke the mind, body and spirit. It is more than getting into a split or a headstand. Yoga helps you observe the emotions that rise up when you move your body into a place of ease. Your goal is to pay attention to the feelings and start the internal healing process.


LIE #2 Yoga can only be practiced in a studio.

No studio needed. Practice at home!

Luz Emma Cañas Madrigal doesn’t need a studio. 

TRUTH #2 Yoga can happen in any place where you can be authentic.

My very first yoga class happened in my living room. I found two small pillows, a yoga DVD and a yoga mat. I sprayed lavender mist in the air. I created my studio right at home! I found comfort in learning more about yoga without the distractions, pressure or judgment of some yoga studios.


LIE#3 Yoga is a white, western & upper-class trend.

Yoga's roots in Africa.

Yoga’s roots in Africa.

TRUTH#3 Yoga has deep roots in East Africa and India.

East Indian sages popularized the yoga that we practice today. Yet, similar movements are evident on the east African hieroglyphs. The yoga history is rich and expansive requiring a lifetime to fully understand.


LIE #4 Yoga is a religion.

Muslim woman practicing yoga.

Muslim woman practicing yoga.

TRUTH #4 Yoga is found in every belief system.

Breath, meditation and sacred movements can be found in almost every spiritual belief system around the world. Chanting “Aum” can be changed to “Amen” or “Shalom”. You have the freedom to meditate on your God and still develop a strong yoga practice.


LIE #5  Yoga is for thin women.

All Bodies Rise

All Bodies Rise

TRUTH #5  Yoga is for anybody willing to put in the effort.

More and more curvy bodies, men, older and younger people are practicing yoga. A good teacher will help you make adjustments with asanas to make them work for you. Don’t ever buy into the media hype that yoga is a box.


Get facts over fiction.

Yoga is a healing system that is changing the world. Get the real facts. Don’t get caught up in myths. Join me on December 21, 2013 at 11am for the “Relax, Relate and Release Yoga Workshop” at the new Gateway Pavilion on St Elizabeth’s East Campus.

Relax. Relate and Relese

Relax. Relate and Release on Saturday December 21, 2013 11am-1pm

Relax, Relate & Release

Anacostia Yogi Intro to Yoga Workshop

Date: Saturday, December 21, 2013

Time: 11am-1pm

Location: St. Elizabeth’s Gateway Pavilion

2700 MLK Jr. Washington, DC 20020

Cost: FREE (This class will be videotaped and participants must sign a release waiver.)

Register Online: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/relax-relate-release-yoga-workshop-tickets-9668397437

Parking available onsite



  1. I love this blog post! Kudos to you, my sister! I teach yoga in Philadelphia and I find myself answering questions in regard to these myths and dispelling them all the time. I’m going to share your post on Facebook (hopefully, I have your blessing to do so!) so that people can hear someone else dispelling these myths. Sometimes, people need a second source and sometimes they need to see truths in print. Seeing truths in print can make them more real and official for some people. Further, I’m hoping my friends in the DC area will see the Fb post and will be inspired to explore your site and make their way to you for group classes or privates!

    • sari says:

      Thanks Cicelee,

      Yes! I always meet people who are realizing that there is a war for our minds and bodies. The only way we win is by going inward. Money doesn’t matter. This is a system practiced by everyone on the planet. Internal healing is the next phase of medicine.

  2. In my mega excitement about your post, I posted a typo in my own name! Lol! My first name is Cicelee with 2 e’s on the end. :)

  3. Holly Clay Smith says:

    I’ve been teaching yoga for quite a while now, and the truths you so perceptively and persuasively convey here tell an honest story. I wish you great success in founding a studio in a part of DC where yoga has yet to spread. I heard of your endeavor from Pleasance, as I teach at Lil Omm….great stuff.

  4. Shemsu Neter says:

    Although LIE #3 is correct TRUTH #3 is partly True. Yoga doesn’t have roots in East Africa, at least not as a posture system, NO egyptian texts support this claim.Although Deities are depicted in poses on the walls , hierogliephs don’t talk about an offical posture system.The depiction of any anthropomorphic or zoomorphic caracter will automatically require a pose.This does not automatically imply an offcial yogic posture system.

    The Yoga that is spoken of in Kemetic texts is Smai Tawi (union between the upper and lower region of our being), and although modern day kemetic ” yoga” teachers use this word and its concept to support their claim that kemet is the origin of Indian and western Yoga, they do NOT teach the spiritual initiation proces required to actually achieve Smai Tawi.Instead they continually present and promote kemetic yoga as a posture system (ASSANAS) and throw some kemetic ex-oteric philosophy into it to make it seem like something deeper and original.

    Even though I applaud the kemetic link up with what i concider hatha yoga/assanas, I find there claims for kemet as origins of yoga to be weak.After having done better research, the Kemetic Yoga teachers should teach there followers to view the assanas merely as a part of the preperation stage for the REAL Yoga proces(resurrection of Ausar) instead of Yoga itself, and teach them to Ankhor the 11 laws of maat in their minds icw daily practice of freedom from sin and wheighing of the heart until they are true in thought word and deed (maakheru) and divinity is realized.Then, they can claim to teach Kemetic Yoga as origin of Indian Yoga.

    So far they have not demonstrated the understanding of Maat beyond the exoteric and the intiation proces required to achieve Smai Tawi.

  5. Michèle says:

    Great article. I love the headline as it is so true. There are many lies in Western Yoga and it is a pity! Thanks for sharing

  6. Diandra says:

    Thank you for this article. Just shared it with the Yoga community here in the British Virgin Islands. Thank you and Namaste!

  7. Yoga Studio says:

    My yoga journey goes on with a different gear. A lot is to explore here again.

  8. kartik says:

    Yoga originated in India not in East Africa.There are no proofs that Yoga originated in East Africa.Western world is lying

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