One of the scary part for anybody who is joining a yoga class is “how will I do it? will I be good? The same fear people who has bigger or larger physique goes through too. In addition, they will think about, “will my body can ever be flexible and will it be able to withstand the poses?” This is not a problem at all. Because Yoga is for everyone! It is not about how flexible your body is, but also about connecting the mind and body to be peaceful and successful. People who have larger physique should not be afraid to practice yoga. Because, there are many people with larger body is doing yoga and are successful and inspiration for others. When you join yoga class keep in your mind that you are not in competition with anybody. You are challenging yourself and you are trying it. You are comparing only to yourself with your progress and not with others.
For large folks interested in exploring yoga, it can be helpful to explode the myth that good health comes only in thin packages.
Do not be afraid to modify poses: When you join a class, you might wonder what is going on and you may feel frustrated. Watch the instructor. Have patience. Learn the pose. If you are unable to do a specific pose and feel that it is beneficial for you, then ask instructor for a modification of the pose. Modifying a pose will give you equal benefit.
1. Listen to your body: Yes, it is important to follow your instincts. You know your body and body will tell you what you can do and how much you can stretch. There is not such thing as no pain without hard work in yoga. IF your body feels pain while stretching or you are unable to do a pose then do not proceed with that pose. When body feels pain it means it is trying to tell you that you might get hurt. Do not be scared off from group classes by assuming you’ll fall behind and have to sit out poses. Call or meet with the instructor before class to see if he /she has experience with bigger yogis.
2. It is also OK to skip poses: It is okay not to do the poses that you are unable to do. Take a break and watch. You will not be humiliated or embarrassed by not doing a pose. Remember, all human bodies has different flexibility and capacity.
3. Find the right teacher and seek you a teacher who works for your needs: Talk to your instructor before or after the class. If the teacher is listening and willing to give you suggestions and modification of poses then it means she/he knows the stuff. Many teachers will be able to explain the physiology of human body related to various poses. If the teacher understands you and willing to teach by not rushing you then he/she is a good instructor. Remember – yoga means not rushing. It teaches us how to be calm, peaceful and enjoying our body how it feels while going through poses.
4. Remember why you are taking yoga class: While taking yoga classes, do not compare yourself to anybody in the room. Your purpose of taking yoga class or doing yoga may be different than others. Do not push yourself. Always remind yourself why you are doing yoga and what benefits you are trying to get.
5. Experiment with poses and types of yoga: If you are feeling comfortable with yoga poses then slowly try different yoga poses. If you are not comfortable, doing certain pose then does not do it. Otherwise, try different types of yoga – Traditional yoga, Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga and power yoga.
6. Use props: Props are best gift for yogis. Try using them. Props will help you get into poses properly. Do not feel ashamed to use props in the class. In yoga, getting in and out of posture properly is very important. If you have difficulty in doing a posture use props like Mats, belts, blocks, straps, yoga blankets, bolsters. In many stores, these will be available for reasonable price. A yoga strap can help you achieve this stretch and support you in other poses, too. And a yoga block can provide support as well, by helping you connect with the ground. Ask an instructor to demonstrate the best practices for using these props.
7. Educate yourself with classes and videos tailored to people with larger bodies: To understand your body take help of videos and classes. Many yoga teachers are not skinny either. They have good and larger physique too. Watch their videos or contact them to get answer for your yoga related doubts.
8. Take it easy and be positive: Loving your body is important. Yoga is not about competition, and it is not about perfection. Frustration is common while we are unable to get into a pose. Dont’ give up on yoga for that reason. Yoga helps you to be focused and develop positive attitude towards life. Use the practice as an opportunity to connect with your mind and body.
9. Think of your weight as a weight: Everybody has weight that is a number. Think about your weight as a weight and not as a burden. Do not think about people who are half your size. Yoga will give flexibility and brings shape for the body that you are looking.
10. Home practice: Home practice is a great way to explore yoga. Start with a sequence that you know and continue adding poses. If you do not know how to do a pose then supplement a regular yoga class too.
Do not think about what type of body you have. To practice yoga one should invest their mind in it. As Yoga Guru B.K.S Iyengar said “Regular practice of yoga can help you face the turmoil of life with steadiness and stability.”
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