Ok, so before I dive into the hard facts of my least favorite of all yoga myths, let me first start by getting very, very clear on one thing:
Yoga Teachers of the world, I see you, and I love you. Also, stop making sh*t up.
This article is not an attack on any one individual. It’s merely pointing out one of the yoga myths that I’ve heard in class too many times. If you’ve ever uttered this awful yoga nugget, it’s all good. This is not calling you out specifically.
You probably heard it said somewhere, maybe even from your teacher trainer, and thought “Wow, what an interesting fact! I’m gonna use that in my next class,” without ever questioning the validity of the statement.
The myth goes something like this:
“Inversions are good for you because they reverse your blood flow.”
You can reverse your blood flow? You can stop the 5.2 Liters of blood that flows through roughly 100,000 miles of veins in the body and make it switch directions instantly?
Holy shit. That’s literally unbelievable. No, seriously, I honestly don’t believe it.
Somebody call the American Medical Association and let them know that a legit fucking medical miracle just took place. I was under the impression that Atria and Ventricles were a one-way street…but hey, that’s just me.
If you reversed your blood flow, you would die instantly. End of story.
Yoga teachers, don’t believe everything you hear in the yoga room, even from your teacher trainer. They are human too.
When something catches your interest, go research it and form an opinion of your own. Go dive into it and get lost in the academia of being a student again. Remember what it’s like to get captivated by something. Don’t just wash, rinse, and repeat something because it sounds cute.
After hearing this #fakenews in more than a few studios in both Denver and Southern California, I began to ask myself “Why do teachers say this? Why are these yoga myths just passed on blindly without question? Simply put: Guru Syndrome.
It stems from the desire to present students with the “fun and cool” facts about yoga so they see you as a knowledgeable teacher with quirky tidbits about the practice. I say this because this was me years ago. I was always scrounging for the next cool little yoga nugget I could share with my students so they would validate me as a knowledgeable person, not fully knowing that I was totally feeding into the spreading of yoga myths that are just flat out false.
I would enthusiastically repeat any random factoid I found in class or on the internet, and pass it off as gospel. Like, “Well, Bikram said that 90 minutes of hot yoga burns as many calories as running a marathon…” And yes, he actually said that.
Ask any cardiologist or personal trainer what they think of Bikram’s statement about caloric expenditure, and they’d laugh him out of the United States and arrest him if he ever returned….oh wait…he already managed that. Too soon? Bwahahahahahaha!!! Later, pervert.
Ask any of his followers though (back in his prime, definitely not today), and many of them would tell you he was right. Why? Simple; because he’s the guru and the keeper of the knowledge. And your guru would never embellish the truth would they? Most certainly not.
Along this same line, when I hear teachers say something like “Oh you have a cold? Have you tried Blahblahblasana? It will cure your cold”
There’s a pose that cures viruses now? That’s pretty fucking awesome. Again, call the AMA immediately to alert them of this pants-on-fire kind of lie. Yoga Myths 101.
You know what else is good for a cold? Calling in sick to work and sleeping for 16 hours while occasionally waking up to consume Vitamin C… A little pose I like to call Passthefuckoutasana. It cures my cold every time.
If this post spiked your emotions because you’ve said some of these things before, it doesn’t make you a bad teacher. In fact, it simply means you are very passionate about your gift and want to absorb and redistribute as much yoga goodness as you can.
All I’m saying is to do a bit of fact-checking before making large anatomical claims to your students. They look to you as the keeper of the knowledge and a trusted source of information, so take pride in your work and distribute good knowledge that empowers them.
Go investigate every source you can if a topic really interests you. Get passionate about your own research. Look up case studies. Watch EEG readings from different experiments. Analyze a cadaver. Do 50 consecutive push-ups and journal about what happens in your own body. Go upside down and see if your blood flow switches directions.
I’m off to handstand practice. I’ll call you when my heart explodes. Love you.