So, you just read that title and rolled your eyes, didn’t you? That’s okay, a few years ago, I would have done the same thing, but now – I practice yoga four or five times a week, and yes I’m still fat.
LAST ONE PICKED IN GYM
I have always hated exercise, and gym class for that matter. Besides a brief foray into square dancing in fifth grade, gym class was the bane of my existence. It didn’t get much easier as I grew up either. I have always been heavy, as they say, and pretty much hated my body.
About two years ago I started reading about the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. One of the basic tenets of HAES is finding movement that you like. Exercise that’s fun. So, I looked into some things and yoga really spoke to my soul, but I was scared. Would I get hurt? Would I make a fool out of myself? Could I really do this? The answer was no, probably, and yes.
PEOPLE WILL LAUGH AT ME
The first thing to do when deciding to try yoga, or any new exercise regime, is to talk to your doctor (okay, so we got that out of the way, right?) Now come the real decisions. Should I do this at home or in a studio? Personally, when starting out, I was too body conscious to try outside my own living room, but look in your area and see what’s available. I looked up a few videos online, grabbed a DVD at Barnes and Nobles and set off. The frustrating part was, none of these videos had me in mind. The fat girl, the girl with a stomach and boobs, and well…fat places. These instructions were for thin and beautiful people who had no clue what I was going through.
So I searched and googled some more and found Curvy Yoga and Anna. Anna is plus sized and a yoga instructor. She has a library of videos that you can join (monthly/yearly memberships are available – Curvy Monthly) with a wide variety of choices. She walks you through modifications for your body in the moment which made a world of difference for me and any fears about pain or humiliation I still had. Her voice is not only soothing, but I get to practice with someone who just gets it. It feels like we’re friends, although we’ve never met in person. I highly recommend curvy yoga, curvy monthly, and their Facebook group.
CAN I DO THIS NAKED?
You could, but plus sized yoga clothes are super comfy and easier to find nowadays. I buy my stuff online at Old Navy. Their rollover plus size yoga pants are the bomb! I wear them pretty much all day every day, on and off the mat, but I live a low-key lifestyle so results may vary. I also buy Old Navy’s tank tops and tee shirts. Here’s the thing, you don’t need fancy clothes to do this. Just a pair of loose fitting pants and a shirt that’s not going to hit you in the face when you do downward facing dog. That’s it.
Okay, if you’re a lady and have boobs, you’re going to need an exercise bra too. I recommend looking online at Champion or going to your favorite bra shop and asking them. I use a Champion sports bra with no underwire because that’s how I roll and I like to keep the ladies supported but comfy during practice. Otherwise, accessorize away. Cute headbands, yoga toe socks, matching pants and tops are all adorable but not needed. If you want them, great, get them and use them.
I WANT TO TRY IT!
Great! So, you’re ready to try this and you’ve decided you want to go to a studio in your town or neighborhood. Call them up and ask them if they have mats and other props available for use during class. If they do, great – go and get your Om on. If not, then you’ve got some more shopping to do. Yay!
You’ll need a yoga mat at the barest minimum, but I would also suggest at least two yoga blocks and a blanket of some sort. The mat is well, duh where you will do your actual yoga-ing. I use an extra thick extra long mat because not only am I fat, but I am also tall.
The blocks help bring the floor up, so if you can’t quite bend over and touch your toes, no problem – grab a block and bam! You can get your stretch on and be fully supported. The blanket is nice for relaxation to act as a pillow or to cover up if you’re cold. It is also nice to sit on during certain poses or to help cushion your knees during other poses (like cat into cow – which I love, but my knees don’t).
If you’re playing along at home only, then get a few things to start, find a video and try it. Seriously, just try it. If you want to watch first and then do…that’s fine too. I did that a lot when first starting out. And, start with something simple…five minutes, 10 minutes and work your way up. Don’t start with an hour long intense yoga video if you haven’t so much as walked 10 blocks in years.
Be smart, be careful, but do it. Try and enjoy. I can’t say that you’ll lose a ton of weight (I haven’t) but you will feel better about your self, your body, and your abilities. You will learn to love that your body can get into poses that a few months ago looked crazy. You will feel strong and more confident and this will carry over into your every day life, I promise. I’m fat and I love yoga…and you can too!