After years of talking to people about yoga, I realized that those who say they aren’t interested in yoga don’t understand it.

People oversimplify yoga. “It’s stretching”. Or they conjure up ridiculous Instagram images featuring emaciated women in poses that can’t be executed by people with proper spinal columns.

Set aside any preconceived notions for a minute.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider a regular yoga practice:

Reason #1: To Avoid Injury.

Yoga promotes a harmony of strength, flexibility, and balance.

Most people who are very strong (think bodybuilders), lack average flexibility and range of motion. People who are naturally flexible tend to lack strength. Both sides of the spectrum put themselves at increased risk of injury and joint problems.

Reason #2: To Improve Focus.

Yoga is awareness and mindfulness training. It’s a workout and a work “in”. Tuning in to mind, body and breath allows for greater concentration. And increased spatial awareness leads to improved performance in your other athletic pursuits.

Reason #3: To Boost Overall Health

Practicing yoga will result in improved posture and a reduction in overall physical discomfort. Yoga has been clinically proven to improve immune function and reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

Don’t let your false perceptions of yoga keep you from adding it to your routine.

Whatever your preference for physical activity . . . running, biking, swimming, weightlifting, or sloth (yes, including those who engage in NO activity at all) . . . yoga provides a wealth of benefits and will improve your performance in all areas of life.