If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I’m not flexible enough for yoga” or “I’m too big to do yoga”, I’d be writing this column from my mansion in the Maldives. Sadly, people don’t throw money at me and I don’t have a luxury estate overlooking pristine waters, but I am proud to say, “I’m here to help!”
“All of those excuses – not flexible enough, too big …. they are all totally untrue. The only thing that’s going on here is that you’re allowing your mind to be stronger than your body. And boy, our minds can be pretty strong – the strongest muscle we have, in fact. Luckily, the brain is very ‘trainable’ so with a few simple exercises, you can retrain it, get on the yoga mat and before long, feel like a brand new person.
Why Yoga For Larger People Is So Important!
Yoga is for larger people, in the same way it is for everyone. However, I won’t lie to you – you’re going to feel self conscious in your first class. I’m also going to let you in on a secret – everybody is nervous and self conscious during their first class. And that’s great. Laugh at yourself as you fall out of postures. Have a giggle if you can’t get your forehead to your knee. Swear as you come out of camel pose or another intense posture that’s really made you feel it. And after a while, you won’t feel like you are too big, or too inflexible, as yoga gives your body the gift of movement and flexibility, suppleness and tone.
The benefits of yoga outweigh the excuses. The hardest part is turning up and getting on the mat. Once you’re there, you’re there!
There is so much that you can gain from yoga. It makes you feel sensational, beautifully stretched out and it gives you a fantastic work out. It will improve your posture so much that you will literally feel like you are walking taller. However, you will not ‘fix’ yourself or find the benefits of yoga with just one class. It takes time and effort.
The important thing to remember is that not all yoga is turning yourself into a pretzel or touching your toes, its about listening to your body recognising how you feel when you are in a pose.
Every pose is able to be modified, whether props are used or the pose is changed completely to gain the same benefit and stretch. So you can pretty much get into any pose, with the help of blocks or straps! For example:
The first misconception about this pose is that you must have your feet in line with each other (with one foot forward and the other behind). Most people feel unbalanced when doing this, so for now, take your feet to hip distance apart or a little wider. It’s your body. Listen to it. Don’t push it because the person next to you can go deeper into the pose. Yoga is not competitive. And when talking yoga for larger people, it’s really important to go at your own pace.
No one needs to twist vigorously in yoga. If you find yourself in a seated twist pose and it doesn’t feel comfortable, simply do what feels right. Twist gently (or don’t twist at all, you can just sit taller). Each day your body feels different and by listening to this, you have found your practice. It may take a little time find your place of comfort, but after a few weeks, you’ll be feeling fitter and a lot more confident.
Easy Seated Pose
Even as a yoga teacher, I don’t stay in this position for too long, my go-to is to kneel, but everyone is different. This pose is more about posture and breathing, not about positioning of the legs or the hand mudra. it’s the perfect pose when talking about yoga for larger people, as you can easily go as deep into the pose, or as shallow into it, as your body allows on any given day.
Yoga really is about every ‘body’ we can all do it, when we let go of the stigma that is attached to yoga about having to be super bendy or trying really hard to be in the perfect pose. The only perfect pose is the one you feel comfortable in.