Yoga: some hate it, others are obsessed with it. With such polarized opinions about the activity, it can be hard to know the truth and even harder to reap the benefits. You’ve probably heard all the common complaints, but worry not! We’ve separated fact from fiction to respond to some of the most popular excuses.

“It Doesn’t Do Anything”

Yoga provides substantial benefits: it can improve strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and much more. The American Osteopathic Association has outlined these benefits, which include the potential for weight loss and injury prevention. If you’re performance-minded, don’t miss out on yoga’s ability to improve core strength and posture, which in turn boosts running performance and overall health.

“It’s Not for Serious Athletes”

Let’s get this out of the way early: yoga isn’t just for weekend warriors anymore. The exercise has been getting a lot of love in the world of professional sports as a method to keep the pros strong and healthy. The muscley men and women at made this list of yoga-loving athletes, including champs in the NFL, NBA, and other leagues.

“It Hurts”

We’ve all been there. Starting any new exercise plan is rough, especially a program that focuses on things well outside your wheelhouse. Yoga definitely highlights common weaknesses such as balance, core strength, and flexibility, so it’s no surprise that many people find it challenging. Over time, however, the activity can reduce pain and improve flexibility; even individuals with debilitating lower back pain found that yoga provided relief.

“I Don’t Know Where to Start”

Are you ready to give yoga a shot? A good way to break the ice is to a take a yoga class designed for beginners. Even if you only go to a handful of sessions, once you learn the basics from a pro you’ll be confident enough to start practicing at home. All you need is a good yoga mat and the willingness to learn.

Check out this list of basic poses; once you’ve got them down, start stringing them together into sequences lasting anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more. We bet that once you get the hang of it, you’ll make it a habit!