When you search the word “YOGA” in google, you will immediately notice the pictures of skinny and fit women on the beach in a warrior pose. Though the theme of slim women portraying yoga can be misleading, it is hardly surprising. After all, thin sells. But conducting some research and asking professionals in the field will tell you that yoga is a great exercise for all body types.
But what about bigger people who wants to improve their fitness levels with yoga?
According to Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of an online resource for yogis and instructors called Curvy Yoga, yoga is a wonderful form of movement for anybody, even for those who are overweight. Low-impact exercises for folks who carry excess weight will make yoga more comfortable than running on a treadmill or on the pavement. Postures in yoga can easily be modified to fit specific body needs. Unlike spinning classes with a drill sergeant as instructor, yoga allows meditation, deep breathing and body awareness that can boost a person’s confidence and self-perception.
How is Yoga different for Thin and Bigger People?
Walking through the door of a beginner’s yoga class for the first time will be the scariest part of your journey. Such class will possibly be filled with slim women, probably half your size, and some postures can be particularly challenging. This initial experience could be intimidating.
If you are overweight, you will move slower, especially when transitioning from one pose to another. Some poses like those that involve balancing on the shoulders will possibly not work for you. And you cannot perform one such pose, you do not have to worry about it at all.
Do not assume that you will fall behind the class as anyone can practice within his skill level. What you can do is meet up with the instructor before the class and know if he or she has experience with teaching yoga to bigger people. If yes, the instructor can offer you modified poses that will suit your physique best.
If you are planning to incorporate yoga to your holistic and healthy lifestyle, below are other tips to help you stay comfortable with yoga.
Widen your Stance
According to Guest-Jelley, it will help you to spread your feet farther until your legs are apart at a comfortable distance. This will increase your stability in many standing postures and will help hold your balance.
Yoga is a multi-million dollar industry. There are a many different tools and props developed to help people stretch and hold poses more effectively. You can use a yoga strap if you need more help in stretching your muscles. Using a yoga block can also add support and help you connect with the ground.
It is OK to Skip Poses
It is completely fine to skip poses that do not work for your body type. Shoulder stand and handstand are poses that may not be good or safe for you at the moment as they could put too much pressure on some of your joints. But as you continue to practice and increase your strength, you will soon be able to perform such poses as well.
Get to know your Body
Bigger people tend to have bigger breasts, arms, thighs and belly. Take the initiative and move them if they are hindering you from carrying out a certain pose. This helps you hold the poses comfortably for longer periods of time.
Remember that yoga is not about perfection. This means it is not a competition between skinny and bigger individuals.
Use the practice as an opportunity to improve your fitness levels and connect with your mind and body. After all, the true lesson in yoga is “The only way to true health is loving yourself”.