Plus-size yoga is a growing trend that combines the benefits of yoga with the body type of larger people. It is a great option for those who want to incorporate yoga into their lifestyle without having to sacrifice comfort or style. Plus-size yoga classes are a combination of traditional yoga poses and techniques with modifications that accommodate larger bodies.
It is a great way to get started if you are new to yoga or just need some extra support when trying to lose weight. You will learn how to safely modify poses to accommodate your size and build muscle strength and endurance. A plus-size yoga class can also help you develop a stronger core, improve flexibility, and strengthen muscles throughout your body.
Plus-size women often face challenges with finding clothes that fit them properly and look flattering. Yoga offers a safe way to work through these challenges by helping you achieve a strong core, improved posture, increased flexibility, and reduced stress.
Plus-size yogis can benefit from the following:
- Improved posture – When practicing yoga, you should be aware of where your center of gravity lies in relation to your feet. This helps prevent injuries, such as lower back strain and knee injury. If you have poor posture, try adjusting your alignment so that your spine is straight rather than curved forward.
- Increased flexibility – The more flexible you become, the easier it becomes to move through postures. Flexibility improves over time as you continue to practice yoga regularly.
- Reduced stress – Stress affects our physical and mental wellbeing. By learning ways to reduce stress, we can better manage anxiety and depression. Practicing yoga reduces tension and increases relaxation.
- Stronger core – A strong core provides stability and balance during movement. Strengthening this area allows us to maintain proper form while performing movements like pushups, crunches, planks, and squats.
- Weight loss – While yoga does not burn calories or build lean muscle mass as much as other exercises, you can lose body weight if you practice more of a dynamic yoga flow. Excessive stress can also be a contributor to weight gain, so incorporating yoga into your daily routine may help you feel less stressed out and therefore eat healthier.
Plus Size Yoga for Beginner Tips
There are several styles of yoga available today. Some focus on stretching and strengthening; others emphasize meditation and breathing exercises. Regardless of what style appeals most to you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a shot! Here are 10 tips for starting plus-size yoga:
- Find an experienced teacher
If you don’t know much about yoga, start out slowly. Choose a class at a local yoga studio or community college. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Look online for classes near you. Once you find someone you feel comfortable working with, ask questions before signing up. Make sure they offer private lessons too.
- Start small
If you haven’t done any exercise since high school, begin slow. Try a short yoga sequence per week for the first month or two. Don’t worry if you miss a few weeks between sessions. Just pick up right where you left off once you return.
- Be patient
Yoga practices take time to master. Expect to spend anywhere from six months to two years developing your skills. Keep in mind that even though you might not see results immediately, you will eventually notice improvements.
- Practice daily
You won’t progress quickly unless you consistently practice each day. Even if you only do 20 minutes, make sure you stick to it every single day.
- Focus on technique
When doing yoga, pay attention to your breath and position. Concentrate on relaxing your entire body instead of focusing solely on your arms and legs. Your goal isn’t necessarily to perform perfect moves, but rather to relax completely. Use yoga blocks or other props to help your alignment in the asanas.
- Avoid pain
Even the basic foundational yoga poses can be challenging, so make sure you don’t overdo it. If any position creates pain or discomfort, stop, rest and consider modifying the pose.
Warming up prior to exercising prevents soreness after workouts. Before moving into full flow, take 5 deep breaths, followed by 3 shallow ones. Perform these steps slowly. You may also want to use light weights when warming up.
- Cool down
Cooling down following a session keeps your heart rate low and blood flowing smoothly throughout your system. Wind down your practice with some floor positions and rest in the savasana pose for 10-12 minutes.
- Breathe deeply
Breathing properly is essential to good health. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take long, steady breaths without holding them. Deep breathing calms the nervous system and promotes overall wellness.
- Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water flushes toxins from your system and hydrates your skin.
- Wear clothes designed for bigger size bodies
The yoga pants and tops you wear to class should fit comfortably around your waist and hips. They should have roomy pockets and sleeves. The leggings should cover your knees and ankles. When shopping for clothing, look for brands like Lululemon, Athleta and Under Armour. These companies design their products specifically for larger sizes.
- Get support
Find a friend who shares similar interests and goals. Share ideas and experiences together. This person could serve as a mentor or coach. It’s important to surround yourself with people who encourage healthy living. You can also find great support online, with communities and resources such as PlusSizeZeal.com that offer articles on body positivity and how to feel comfortable and happy in a plus sized body.
- Join a group
Plus-sized women often struggle to connect with one another because we’re all different shapes and sizes. Joining a fitness club or gym provides opportunities to meet new people while getting active. Many gyms now feature special programs just for plus-size clients.
- Consider online yoga classes
If you do not find local yoga instructors who are properly trained to teach a plus-size yoga practice consider taking an online course. There are many websites that offer free videos of various styles of yoga that are specifically designed for plus-size people. Some sites even allow you to download videos of specific practices.
The benefits of yoga include improved strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. With regular practice, you can achieve greater levels of self-confidence and peace of mind. Give yourself permission to enjoy the many rewards of yoga now!