MAYBE it's the leotards. Or maybe it's the candles. We don't know how it happened but somewhere along the way, yoga got labelled as a gentle, slow exercise for old ladies in village halls.

While some yoga classes numb you with their dullness, this isn't one of them. Yoga Express sessions test every muscle group in your body within a 45-minute workout.

So when Matt Ryan did a career swerve from Hacienda DJ to Yoga Teacher, friends raised eyebrows. He wasn't just going 'spiritual', he was going to start wearing lycra. Then they saw him lift his own body weight while balancing on his hands and they started to see why yoga had him in its grips.

Fifteen years later, Matt has opened up Yoga Express – a new centre in the Northern Quarter that offers 45-minute, dynamic yoga classes designed to fit into our time-poor lives. At the moment, his classes are roughly 70 per cent female, 30 per cent male – a statistic Matt puts down to misunderstandings from men on what yoga is all about.

There's plenty of misconceptions around yoga, held by women as well as men. If you've always dismissed this form of exercise as slow and a little bit soft, here's why you need to think again.

Yoga Misconception #1: It's just for girls
What links these people? Ryan Giggs, Russell Brand, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Mani from the Stones Roses. They're all men and they all do yoga? Nearly. They're all men taught yoga by Matt. He's got quite the celebrity client list. Even Kate Moss (not a man) was seen sporting one of the nifty Yoga Manchester bags recently.

Yoga Misconception #2: It's slow and boring
While some yoga classes numb you with their dullness, this isn't one of them. Yoga Express sessions test every muscle group in your body within a 45-minute workout. They're designed to give you the same physical and mental results you'd get from a more gentle 90 minute session. Swap 'slow and boring' for 'fast-moving and addictive' and you're on the right track.

Yoga Misconception #3: It's not very challenging
Yoga Express classes are based on Ashtanga Yoga, aka dynamic yoga or power yoga. It's a cardiovascular, gymnastic-style workout that pushes you as far as you want to go. The first time you do the opening Sun Salutations sequence, you'll forget all notions of this being an easy option.

Luckily, you can take it at your own pace so beginners shouldn't be put off by videos like this. The poses are easily adapted for all body shapes so whether you're young, old, fat or thin, you can do the class.

Yoga Misconception #4: It doesn't do anything
There's a lot of talk linking yoga to flexibility. But really, who cares about having a flexible body other than ballerinas and contortionists? We're more interested in being strong and toned. Men do Express Yoga for the muscles. Women do it for the long, lean limbs. Both do it for the mental benefits: a calmer, clearer mind with lower stress levels.

Yoga Misconception #5: It's expensive
Matt believes in making yoga affordable so Yoga Express classes are just £6 or £5 when you get a 10 class pass. And once you've learnt the moves, you can supplement your classes with at-home workouts. The cost-results analysis says 'bargain'.

Yoga Misconception #6: It involves wearing lycra
Only if you want to. Tracky bottoms and a t-shirt work for most. There's no dress code - just wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

Think you might like to try it? Check out the Yoga Express class timetable.