I’ve seen the looks when I mention to people that I practice yoga regularly. I’ve felt the surge of insecurity as I walk into a class by myself. I get it, when you think of “yoga” you don’t think of someone with a bigger body. But, guess what? Yoga is for every body.
Yoga is, quite literally, the only form of movement and exercise that feeds not only my muscles but also my soul. An hour practice is about breathing, listening to your body, and making room to do more. It’s not about pushing, or grunting, or doing the best in the room. Yoga is about finding your edge and getting comfortable there, inhaling to find length, and exhaling to see if you go deeper. Your edge is your business.
Does a bigger body make some poses more difficult? Absolutely.
Part of the yoga experience is to find the modification that fits your body, if you can’t hold yourself in plank, drop your knees – you’re still working your core.
Yoga is about awareness, listening, and honoring as you move. That has nothing to do with the shape or size of my body. Some of my favorite poses are:
Warrior I, Warrior II, Tree, Mountain, Cat/Cows, Balancing Table, Downward Dog, Triangle, Spinal Twists with arms in T, Forward Folds, Sun Salutation Series, Goddess, Chair Pose (& with a twist), and Extended Side Angle. Well…and, of course Savasana.
Typically, my yoga practice happens outside of my home. I take free classes at work as part of a community program, and have a membership at a local studio. I’m spoiled by our free classes at work, our instructor is amazing and very flexible with her classes. When she walks into a room, she takes a scan and can throw together an amazing practice on a whim that works for everyone. Sometimes, when I go to other classes, I find that the set flow doesn’t work for me. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just less predicable. So, I’ve started practicing more at home. Here are some of my tips for creating a successful home practice.
Where Matters. Where you practice at home matters a great deal. You need a space that is relatively quiet, has enough room for you to spread your arms wide + put your legs in the air. If you can, find a spot without carpeting. Yoga poses are significantly harder on a mat that is on top of carpeting.
Create a calming atmosphere. I turn on just enough light to be able to see, put some essential oils in my diffuser, and put on my Hippie Shit + Yoga playlist. If you need to, close yourself off, Bruno and Winnie are notorious for thinking me sitting on the floor is an invitation to play.
Guided or No? Decide if you’ll practice with a video or guide. Sometimes I need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or to push me further. Some days, I just want to feel it out for myself. Yoga with Adrienne is a great resource for people that are looking for something specific. I really enjoyed her Yoga for Sciatica when I was struggle with getting moving again after injuring my back.
Release Expectations. Take a second before you start, close your eyes, and release your expectations. You’re not a yoga superstar, that’s cool. You’re just a human, at home, taking care of your mind, body, and soul. Own it, and just enjoy. If your dogs/kids/husband/neighbor/mother/imaginary friend come bursting in during the middle of warrior I, just smile and keep moving. Life happens.
Warm Up, Yoga, Savasana. Don’t skip your warm up and savasana. Your body needs to build up to your poses and cool down after working hard. Just because you’re at home and it feels weird to be laying on the floor doesn’t mean you skip cooling down, take a minute or two for savasana. Slowly come out of your practice, thank yourself for coming to the mat. Say “namaste” out loud. Be grateful you showed up.
Big, small, curvy, straight, tall, short, love handles, strong…whoever you are, there’s yoga for you. You might just have to create it for yourself.
The love and light in me honors the love and light in you.