My yoga journey began when I was over 250 pounds. I wasn’t the typical yogi and I jumped into my practice long before Curvy Yoga was even a “thing”.
My inner experience was amazing. I actually came to a place where I was proud of myself. I felt strong. Powerful and like I finally had a voice. (All from yoga!) My outer experience though, that part of my journey that had to see the eye rolls of the people on the mats next to me when I would drop into child’s pose before we even finished our warm up, and that part of me who couldn’t shake the idea that the instructor’s I encountered had ZERO clue how to modify anything to accommodate a gal with…well, bigger than normal girls on her front.
THAT is the part of my journey that made me want to lead classes. I wanted to be sure that gals like me were able to enjoy yoga as much as I had been.
This post isn’t about the Curvy Yoga movement. (Although, I am forever grateful for voices like Anna Gelly and Jessamyn Stanley for pushing the need for curvy bending into the stratosphere.) This post is to arm all of you warriors who may be holding on to some bigger gals on your fronts, or maybe you have a little extra on the backends, or the sides or the in betweens…I want you to know, to FEEL that you can indeed get yourself on a yoga mat.
Here is some of my best “fluffy yogi” advice:
- Don’t worry about buying “yoga clothes” to practice. Really. Leggings can suck. Sports bras can too. Just find what you are the most comfy in and GET ON YOUR MAT. While it is awesome to dress the parts we play in our lives, yoga is so much less about appearance than it is about comfort in your skin.
- Find a great instructor who is familiar with modifications. You will need them. For some poses, you simply need to know that it’s ok to place your feet a bit wider to create space for your bod. Sometimes, you will need to use props to ensure proper alignments. Diving deep into poses is great but if body parts are in the way, you need to modify to ensure your safety.
- Yoga is HARD. Suck that into your head and learn to listen to your bod. This really isn’t advice just for the fluffy humans out there either. Don’t expect to jump on a mat and do everything, have perfect alignment or to know a flow sequence completely on your first day. (or even in your first months of practice.) Yoga uses muscles in a way that most of us aren’t accustomed to. Plan to jump into your practice and seek our your inner voice, rather than trying to keep up with the super flexi girl in the front row. Your bod and your mind will thank you for that.
- Invest in 2 yoga blocks and a good yoga strap. Props are your best friend when you need to move around body parts. 2 blocks will enable you to press into your hands for forward fold without cutting off your air supply essentially handing you a deeper practice overall. Just put them into your practice bag and USE THEM.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of the time, instructors have a decent pile of students that they are leading for each class. Don’t hesitate to speak with yours to get some advice about certain poses before or after class. Most great instructors welcome conversation that will help you deepen your practice.
When all else fails, shoot me a message if you have questions. I can honestly tell you that I have most likely been there and done that when it comes to finding ways to work around body parts in my practice. I still have to move the girls in certain poses and I don’t hesitate to do it when needed.
Yoga is a journey. An incredible and transformative one. If you are holding on to some fears of starting your practice, or maybe you are a fluffier yogi (like me) and have something to add; I’d love to hear from you in the comments.