Friday, June 17, 2011

Fat Girl Yoga

I know this seems like an odd sort of topic, but one thing that bothers me with exercises is that I literally can't get my body to move in certain ways. It's not that I'm not flexible enough; it's that I have too much meat to do certain things. No, I cannot clasp my hands behind my back and pull my arms up without pinching fat between my shoulder blades. No, I can't touch my nose to my knees because--guess what?--my stomach won't let me bend over in that way.

I'm not saying that every yoga instructor or every yoga DVD needs to include specialized lessons for overweight participants, but it would be nice if more of them would. A quick Google search for "yoga for overweight people" provided a few promising results. has a page for Plus-Size Yoga, and it lists a few places that offer yoga catering to overweight people. Unfortunately, most of those links are to regional or single-city studios. Some of them offer DVDs, but there's nothing like having an instructor to let you know if you're doing the exercises appropriately. You can seriously injure yourself if you hold a position improperly. Another website, Fat People Can Do Yoga in Class or at Home, lists some DVDs that modify positions for overweight people. Three DVDs? That's it? Not very promising.

Aside from the physical limitations of doing yoga while overweight, I have to deal with the mental and emotional aspect of being the biggest person in the class on most days. The university gym offers yoga classes, most of which are unfortunately during my work hours. While I enjoy them, I was mortified to run into someone from my program at one class. You need to have somewhat clingy clothes to practice yoga without flashing everyone or needing to pull your pant legs down. When your acquaintance has a streamline body (great for yoga clothes) and you're dragging extra pounds, you don't want to face off. Of course, she never made any rude remarks and probably thought nothing of it soon after class, I felt awkward. I can't imagine running into a professor!

I started this entry with hopes of finding a decent listing of yoga for overweight people DVDs or classes. I found a few, definitely! But, in a society that provides online access to pre-recorded yoga sessions (YogaDownload) that offer courses specialized for children, pregnant women, people with back pain, runners, and cyclists, you would think that they could squeeze in one class for overweight people!

Good luck, fellow yogis!

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea if this would fit your needs, but I have used a yoga DVD called "YRG", which used to stand for "Yoga for Regular Guys", but that has been dropped since a significant number of women found it useful too. It was started by a wrestler named Diamond Dallas Page, who broke into the business at 30, which is virtually ancient for a rookie wrestler. He swears that this is what kept his body capable of keeping up with the physical demands of the job. Basically, it's yoga without the "touch your ear to the back of your knee" craziness. I have never done any other yoga program, so I can't compare it to "normal" yoga, but I know that I lost weight, felt better, and had more flexibility after using it.