If you’re concerned about body shape or weight, it can be difficult to take that first step into any new fitness program. There’s a general assumption that you have to be in shape to exercise, which simply isn’t true.
The catch is you’ll never get in shape unless you exercise. It can be a frustrating circle. With yoga there are no barriers. It is infinitely adaptable and can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels.
Find a Good Yoga Instructor
It’s always important to find a good yoga instructor. They can guide you to achieve the best poses without causing injury. However, if you’re overweight it’s even more important to find a skilled instructor. You want to find someone who is supportive and willing to work with you to modify the poses to fit your current body and fitness level.
There are many yoga instructors who are overweight themselves and serve as an inspiration. Some of these instructors offer specialty classes to their overweight students. You don’t need to find a special class, necessarily, but do look for a skilled and supportive instructor.
Ask around to see what teachers in your area receive high reviews. You may also want to take a few one-on-one sessions so that you can get a feel for the instructor’s style. Or call a few yoga studios in your area to find out what is offered.
There are literally dozens of different types of yoga styles to choose from. Some like Bikram or Power yoga are not great places to start for anyone. It’s always best to begin with a gentle yoga class and a beginner class if available. Hatha, Kripalu, or Viniyoga are all great styles to begin with. Don’t worry, if you have an aspiration to try Bikram or Power yoga, you’ll get there. For now, learn the basics and develop your fitness.
Be willing to modify the poses to fit your body, your fitness level, and your needs. For example, some poses may require you to use blocks or to widen your stance to accommodate your body. Relax and do what you can. As your practice improves, your modifications will change. Your body will change too. You’ll notice that your alignment improves, your strength increases, and your endurance and flexibility will improve as well.
If you want to lose weight, get in shape, and are interested in yoga then give it a try. Don’t be discouraged by instructors or classmates who can bend their lithe bodies into pretzels; you’ll get there if you want to. For now, enjoy the many amazing physical and mental health benefits of yoga.