The Misconceptions of Meditation and Yoga within Communities of Color

The Misconceptions of Meditation and Yoga within Communities of Color

5 min read

Many misconceptions surround yoga and meditation that hold people back from indulging, especially people of color. For starters, most people hold a stereotype towards yogis, thinking they do not fit into that stereotype. So, they easily conclude that yoga is just not their thing.

But hey, these are just misconceptions. Yoga and meditation are beneficial to anyone and everyone, regardless of their color, culture, body type, or location. 

Below are some common myths about yoga and meditation among communities of color, and we dispel all of them.

Myth 1: Yoga and meditation are exclusively Eastern practices

When some people imagine someone doing meditation, they often picture a Hindu person in their head. This stereotype has made many Blacks and Hispanics brush the practice aside as unsuitable for them. They just don’t fit into that stereotype that they’ve pictured. 

Although yoga and meditation originated from Eastern traditions, they are now pretty common in the West, even among Black and Hispanic communities. In fact, Black participation has climbed from 2.5% in 2002 to 9.3% in 2017, according to National Health Interview Survey Data. Also, 5.7% of yoga instructors are black. 

Everything must originate somewhere, but that doesn’t make it exclusive to that region. Yoga and meditation are the most common alternative health approaches in the US today.

Myth 2: Yoga and meditation are religious practices

Some people are hesitant to get involved with yoga and meditation because they consider it a religious practice. Some even mistake it for Hinduism and Buddhism. But nothing could be further from the truth.

While people of the Hindu faith have practiced yoga for ages, and although it is a spiritual practice, it is not a religion. Neither is meditation. Yoga and meditation are a way to connect your body with your spirit to achieve unity, to be in the present while letting go of all your sources of stress and anxiety. It is mental relaxation. 

Yoga is a physical exercise to build flexibility and strength. It also relaxes you, helps you sleep better, and improves heart health. 

So whether you are a Muslim, Christian, or atheist, you can do yoga and meditation as they don’t interfere with your religion. It’s all about improving your mental and physical health.

Myth 3: There are no yogis of color

One prevalent misconception about yoga and meditation within communities of color is that there are no black yogis. This is driven by the fact that most magazines feature White and Asian yoga instructors. But as already mentioned, Black participation in yoga is increasing, with 5.7% of yoga instructors being Black. 10.6% are Hispanic or Latino. 

Participation in yoga and meditation and yoga among communities of color is on the rise as more people are beginning to see the benefits beyond the stereotypes.

Myth 4: It leads to cultural appropriation

Many Blacks and Hispanics avoid getting involved with yoga and meditation as they fear it will lead to cultural appropriation. But as we already mentioned, these two practices transcend a specific culture, race, or geographical region. So, practicing yoga as a Hispanic is not the same as adopting an Asian culture. The practice started in the East, but yoga has since been recognized as a physical and mental exercise, not a cultural practice. Practicing yoga and meditation is all about accepting how these exercises benefit your mind and body.

Myth 5: You need special classes and materials

Most people think about yoga and their minds go to a group of people moving in a closed space moving in rhythm, barefoot, and on a special kind of mat. So they assume that all of that is required before you can practice yoga and meditation. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

Yoga and meditation could be practiced anywhere: in your bedroom, living room, or yard, without any specific equipment or attire. You do not need to register for a special class. Some platforms like Loop Health offer free resources online to help people of color practice yoga and meditation at home. 

Myth 6: It’s not for men

This conception rides on the images of yoga instructors we often see online; they are mostly women. Most men of color identify with strength and would jettison the idea of doing anything that contradicts that virtue of masculinity. It’s interesting to note that 13% of all yoga instructors are men, according to Zippia. Non-binary instructors also make up 13%. The conclusion is that whatever you identify as, yoga and meditation are for everyone.

The Bottom Line

The stereotypes most people hold about yoga and meditation are mere misconceptions, drawing from their little understanding of the practices. As you can see, they are not peculiar to any culture or identity. 

Yoga and meditation are gaining popularity among communities of color, and if the benefits appeal to you, there’s no reason to have reservations anymore. Find free resources to help you get started by visiting Loop Health today.