So, like I mentioned yesterday, I’m on this journey to better my health. One great activity I’ve picked up along the way is yoga. (Yes. I know. I can hardly believe it myself.)
I actually first got into yoga a few years ago while working at a law firm. They brought in a yoga instructor (I’ll call her “Karen”) once a week and what seemed like every female associate in the company clamored for a spot in that tiny little gym. I guess it was the idea of having one hour a week when the higher ups actually wanted us to feel relaxed that drew us in.
Like most yoga teachers, Karen was petite – about 5’3″ and maybe 100 lbs. She had short hair in a funky cut – dyed almost a purpley shade of red – and tiny star tattoos on her feet. She smelled like lemongrass and just always seemed SO much happier than the rest of us.
In her class I was – as I am now – the fattest woman in the room. And then – like now – I couldn’t do all the moves exactly the way she instructed us. (I mean, do you really expect me to lift 200 lbs in the air with all the weight bearing down on my wrists? Please. Get your life.) Somewhere along the way I came up with my own set of modifications – turns out I wasn’t entirely off-base with most of them. Karen never criticized me for my modifications – in fact, she praised them. I’ve actually found most yoga teachers to be very accepting of my body and the way I conduct my yoga practice. This acceptance makes it far easier for me to keep coming back.
These days I’m doing a lot of hot yoga – where the room is heated to about 95 degrees as you flow through the different yoga poses. Initially the idea scared me to death, but I’ve really come to enjoy it. (Yes. I know. I can hardly believe it myself.) There’s something refreshing about sweating off five buckets of water while using your own body as resistance. Not to mention how elongated you feel afterwards.
The only thing that turns me off about a lot of yoga classes is all the chanting and intention-setting. Dude, I just want to workout; not practice a religion. I know, I know . . . yoga itself is rooted in Eastern spirituality, so I really have no right to criticize this . . . but I’m telling you I am *this* close to busting out my own churchified brand of “om” . . . .
I have yet to have the awesome experience of finding “another fat girl” at hot yoga. But I don’t mind. There actually are yoga classes cropping up that are specifically designed to cater to overweight folks. (Personally, I am itching to take a class with Misia Denea of Yoga for Thick Jawns.) But if you don’t have any classes near you or just want to start in the privacy and comfort of your own home, some great starter videos are Yoga: Just My Size With Megan Garcia and The Biggest Loser: The Workout – Weight Loss Yoga
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