Let’s get this out of the way first thing–yoga is for everybody. Every body.
People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years, in many different ways. Here in the United States, we have been physically practicing yoga for about 200 years. (If you are interested in how yoga grew roots here in the United States, check out this article.)
Somewhere along the way the notion came along that you had to look a certain way to practice yoga. I guess I missed the memo.
My first yoga class was in 2009. My practice has come a long way, mentally and physically. For me, yoga has made my body stronger and more flexible. It has also helped me learn self-discipline, especially my favorite yin practice – where you hold poses for and extended period of time, often 5-10 minutes. Through yoga I have improved my breath control which is helpful for swimming and running. Improved breath control has also helped me control my anxiety.
Now if you hadn’t noticed, I am a plus sized woman. My body is strong, capable, and flexible, and once I convinced my mind of that – I became unstoppable.
I used to be very self-conscious about my body, especially in situations like a gym or yoga studio, when the main focus is the body. Shortly after moving to Las Vegas, I tried a hot yoga class. It was a large studio, a packed class – at least 50 people in the room which was already 95 degrees. As I waited for the class to start, I started getting nervous. I was definitely the largest person in the room. As the instructor started, I remember thinking I had made a horrible mistake. A few people walked out, and instructor stopped class and asked if anyone else wanted to leave. I made up my mind I was finishing that class, and I did. I couldn’t achieve all the poses, but the instructor gave everyone modification options, so the class was just as accessible to me as it was for the cirque artist on the mat next to me.
If you have reservations about taking a yoga class, consider this: when you are focusing on your breathing, focusing on your form, and transitioning into your next pose, you don’t have time to worry about what anyone else is doing, and most likely, no one else is paying attention to you either. Your body deserves self-care regardless of your size or skill level.
Have you taken a yoga class? If not, what has been holding you back? Thank you for reading – and namaste!
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Everyone is different, so make sure to talk to your healthcare provider prior to starting any fitness program. The words and other content provided in this blog are not intended, and should not be construed as medical advice.
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