If you’re like 99% of your peers, you have bought in to the media-driven belief that your body is not as attractive, fit, or perfect as it should be. That unfortunate belief leads many people to avoid yoga, because, let’s be honest, what we see of yoga participants are slender, outfit-rocking, “beautiful” participants. What could possibly motivate someone with a less-than-“ideal” body or body image to muster up the courage to join a yoga class?
Fortunately, there are several centers where yoga for the larger and less fit participant are becoming common. The attitude of the instructor can make all the difference for people to decide to join a class, so be on the lookout for classes that are welcoming of both men and women, large and small.
If there is a standard in yoga, it’s that if a pose doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. For many people with weight challenges, this can seem like reason enough not to try. “If I can’t even do a forward fold, why bother?” The idea that you need to be able to do everything easily right off the bat is another unfortunate belief about yoga. Even the simplest of poses may present challenges for one set or another, so that good instructor will have equipment and modifications for everyone, whether they’re overweight, disabled, or just really inflexible. Yoga’s beauty is in its ability to be adapted to the person practicing, not the other way around.
Do you have to wear those tight yoga pants to participate in a class? Of course not. Do you have to look like everyone else in the class? No! All you need is the desire to pursue yoga to make your life healthier, inside and out. Yoga is just as much about the mind as it is the body, and as you practice, you’ll begin to understand the yoga pants are unimportant. And that it’s a good thing you don’t look just like everyone else in the class. How you view yourself as a human being can change for the better with yoga, but you have to be willing to step out there and just take that first class. You may fall repeatedly, be frustrated that you can’t do a pose easily, and wonder why you’re even trying, but committing to the practice for a few months will begin to make the change you seek in your body and in your mind.