Community Magazine

The Fat Girl in Yoga Class

By Momishblog @momishblog
I've wanted to try yoga my entire life. What's stopped me?  The same thing that's stopped all plus size people interested in yoga, I didn't want to be the fat girl struggling in the class.  There, I said it. I know working out is supposed to be all about getting in shape and being healthy not about what you look like but we all know that's rarely the case.  I wasn't sure what I could do, if anything, and wasn't interested in making a complete fool of myself.  Enter Curvy Yoga a website devoted to non-skinny yogi wannabes.
Thanks to a friend who followed Curvy Yoga on Facebook, I quickly fell in love with Anna and started to believe if she could do it, so could I. Its important to note that I've been friends with one of the most well respected yoga instructors in my community for a few years now.  She's always assured me that I would feel welcomed in her class.  I wanted to believe her, I really did, but I didn't.  Then I was assigned to write about Lotus's  new studio for the Visit Fort Wayne Blog which changed everything. Her space matched her passion and I had to give it a try.
With Anna's Curvy Yoga inspiration and Vicki's passion for inspiring others I attended my first class just two weeks ago.  How was it?  ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY AMAZING!!!!! (If it weren't for trying to be less vulgar in my life, I would have spelled it out even more explicitly but you get the point) Where has yoga been all my life and why the heck haven't I tried it before?????  AMAZING!!!!!  I love it (can't you tell?) and can honestly say it's changing my life already.  Even the hubs was amazed, commenting that if it weren't for being so sweaty he would have thought I was coming from a massage instead of yoga.  It's official I'm in luv.
But from one not so yogi bodied person to another, let me share with you some of my experiences, early on tips, and what you might expect.
1. Find a studio that embraces everyone at all levels.  As I understand it, some yoga studios are like the gyms we all love to hate. They can be all about looks and ability rather than about health and wellness.  If you're in Fort Wayne, I encourage you to check out Lotus.  No matter where you live, go to the studio and talk with the instructors/owners. As Vicki says the space should feel inspirational and like a supportive hug...not too tight...not too loose.  I can honestly say I feel like I'm being hugged just thinking about my practice.  That's right, MY PRACTICE, I have a freaking yoga practice now people.  Who knew?????
2. You're not going to be able to do it all but the skinny people can't either. I've learned that yoga is about meeting your body where it is today.  It turns out that skinny bodies aren't always at their yoga best every day either.  I was so caught up in thinking that if you were skinny you were flexible and balanced that I never thought skinny peeps would struggle.  Note: I LOVE (as in FREAKING LOVE) my skinny friends but just made apparently unfounded assumptions about their abilities.
3. You're going to sweat your ass off (sorry, there's no word that will substitute here).  When I say sweat I mean dripping sweat, pouring from your clothes and down your face kind of sweat.  Unless you are one of those fortunate people who glow all the time be prepared. Take a towel (or two) and know that everyone else is sweating too.  For something that makes me so zen, it's always surprising to me how much I sweat.  It's ok. You're not sweating because your fat, you're sweating because it's hard work.  Relax and make sure you pick up Secret Pro Strength next time you're at Target.
4. You'll encourage others just like Anna did for me. Some of my friends have joined me already & others tell me their encouraged by it. If my size 20 self can attempt downward facing dog, chances are you can too.  Even the hubs is considering checking it out.  More people I love means an even more supportive hug.  BRING IT!
5.  Modify the poses (aka moves). Again, you can't do it all and neither can anyone else.  This is about you doing whatever you can do in your practice today.  If downward dog is someone else's resting position but it makes you want to die, only do what your body allows for & change the move to child's pose instead. There's an entire section on the Curvy Yoga site on how to modify poses.
I've had friends tell me they started their practice at home with videos instead of in a studio.  If that makes you more comfortable, GO FOR IT.  Just promise me you wont wait as long as I did.  This stuff is life changing.  I can't wait for you to try it!

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