Some people see yoga as a form of exercise or relaxation; others see it as a way of life. But whether you practice it regularly or have never set foot in a studio, chances are you have some long-held beliefs about yoga and its health and fitness benefits. Yoga proponents swear by its ability to cure disease and improve vitality, while skeptics might see it as little more than glorified stretching and chanting.
But the truth, says Charleston, S.C.-based yoga instructor Erica Rodefer, is that yoga is a versatile practice that can be modified to fit the needs of almost anyone who wants to learn. And to sort through the exaggerations, misunderstandings, and misconceptions, we looked at the research and talked to certified instructors to get their take on all things yoga. You may be surprised to learn the truth about something you already thought you knew.