When people hear the word “yoga,” they have different ideas of what it is. Some think of a room full of yogis in a very peaceful state. They don’t think that it’s a real work out. They think it’s just stretching and meditation. Thus, they stay away from it because they want a workout where they feel like they worked hard.

Others think of a room full of really fit yogis bending into these impossible positions. So they are intimidated by yoga and don’t think they will ever be able to get into these positions.

Yes, yoga is peaceful, and yes, yogis do get into difficult positions. However, there is so much more to yoga. Yoga is peaceful, but it is also very challenging. There are positions that seem impossible, but yogis don’t get into these poses overnight. It takes time and practice. There are many misconceptions about yoga and I am going to debunk a few of them.

1.  Yoga is easy.

By no means is yoga easy. In our yoga studio in Conshohocken, we practice a form of yoga called power yoga. It focuses on strength, and it is more vigorous than traditional yoga. It moves a bit more quickly, and it is great for strength training.

So many people who come for the first time often tell me after class that it was such a hard class. The next day, I get texts from them telling me how sore they are and what a great work out it was.

Related: What is the Difference Between Power Yoga and Hot Yoga?

2.  You have to be flexible.

You do not have to be flexible to do power yoga. Rather, yoga helps with your flexibility. The main goal of yoga is not to make you flexible. It is to help you build strength, balance and flexibility.

3.  You have to be in really good shape or skinny to practice power yoga.

This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions. People often put off trying yoga because they are not in good shape. They may be intimidated by a yogi next to them who can easily get into poses.

We don’t practice yoga for the benefit of others. We practice yoga for ourselves. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to the person next to us. Our yoga studio is a place of nonjudgement. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh or how fit you are, you are there to better yourself mentally and physically. Once you start practicing and only focus on yourself, you will see how your body will become more flexible and stronger, in addition to feeling calmer and at peace.