I am about to enter my fifth month of doing yoga almost daily. In my younger years, I was one of those who was naturally flexible and I loved stretching; I had some confidence that I’d be fine if I persisted. Being honest, I did feel being/having fat gave some limitation on certain moves which is most noticeable in those first few days. I wanted to write about how yoga can be done even if you’re not skinny and flexible and this intention had me searching for pictures of the fatties doing yoga; although I couldn’t find any with the search terms I was using.I eventually found references to a couple of people on Instagram who are large and posting pics of themselves as ‘body positive’ role models. I think it’s beyond stupid to link ‘body-positive’ with obesity; it ain’t healthy, not physically nor psychologically. But, this is an introduction to my own journey with yoga so I’ll be taking a closer look at social attitudes to our bodies on another day.
Fat or Inflexible?
Yoga can be done by the clinically obese; I’ve seen pictures so it happened. Seriously, though, I saw enough to be convinced that it’s possible and am now of the opinion that my own initial difficulty was probably down to lack of practice rather than the size of my gut. I was nowhere near obesity when I began, I was only just grabbing at the end of the bar of what can be considered healthy.
Positive Health Effects
I’ve come across way too much information extolling the apparent health-perfection which yoga offers (it’s not a phenomenon specific to this group by any means). The truth is, there is little hard science to back up the majority of the claims. That being said, solid clinical evidence does exist for its ability to lower back pain and reduce inflammation. Anecdotally speaking, my posture and attitude towards my health, in general, have both improved significantly. Regular practice, especially done at home, has been instrumental in helping me to establish a more caring attitude towards what I eat and how I treat myself in general. I know it’s cliched and a bit cheesy, but yoga really has helped me to clean up my act physically and mentally.
What it Doesn’t Do
Unless you’re doing one of the extremely active styles you’re unlikely to lose much weight and toning up will take forever. You need to look elsewhere for your cardio.
Why I’m Doing It
I’ve been avoiding the cross-trainer for the most part, so I’m fairly sure the changes I’ve experienced in my mind and body have come from the yoga and diet alone. Altogether since late April, I’ve lost around nineteen pounds. Slow and steady progress but a good achievement considering I chose to change my diet rather than simply go on one. I’m doing yoga most days because I spend too much time sitting on my arse and I see it as a way to be kind to myself. Whilst I have always had a good level of communication with my body, I’ve found a daily practice has helped me to become considerably more pro-active in responding to the messages I get from my inner self. I put more effort into posture when I’m sat at my desk and will stretch what I can whilst sitting throughout the day. I was dieting before the yoga, but these days I’d rather eat better because I don’t want an overloaded stomach before I do a session (which is often late in the day). In short, I find yoga supports the effort I was already making and as a result, it’s made my life easier. When I say my life, what I mean is, my general well-being. I hope to continue my almost daily practice for the foreseeable future.
A Place To Begin
I’ve stuck with freebie youtube vids for my home practice. I tried a few before settling with Adriene who offers subscription-based stuff too, but I love that you can access a boat load of her content for free.
I tend not to worry about diving into something headfirst and never bothered to get to grips with the basic poses. However, for those of you who prefer to do things in order, here’s a playlist of all the basic poses.