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TOPIC: Do fat people do yoga?

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June 29, 2011 8:18 PM
So, I still have a lot of weight to lose and tried a yoga video once a few months ago. I don't know if I was doing it wrong, it was a bad video, or if it was just because I'm too fat, but it was kind of painful...not what I've heard anyone describe yoga as. It did feel like my belly was getting in the way of a couple moves. Anyway, I have bursitis in my knee and doc wants me to keep it low impact for a while so I thought yoga would be perfect and heard that it's best for beginners to start in a class. I'm nervous, though, because I don't want to be the only "fat" one in there and not be able to do any of it. I'm still in the "obese" category and have 52 lbs. to lose. I'm 5'8 and 212 right now. Have any of you taken classes where there were heavy ppl? Or are you still heavy and go to yoga class? Not a video at home, but a class with an instructor and other people. I know some of you will want to say, "don't worry about what other people think and just go!" But, I'm very self conscious about things and embarrass easily and if I go and look like a fool, I'm likely to not go again. So...let me know if I'm likely to look like an idiot and should maybe wait until I lose more weight. :) Thanks in advance for any help. :)
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June 29, 2011 8:22 PM
My ex-roommate (I got married) and I used to go to yoga classes together. I'm not sure what her exact weight was, but she was over 200... she was also one of the more flexible students in the class (beginners).
June 29, 2011 8:25 PM
I started doing Yoga at 260 pounds. It was hard and it wasn't pretty, but I improved with each class and now I can do almost everything. You might try going to a gym. A live instructor can suggest modifications that can make things more manageable and allow you to get started.
  6214796
June 29, 2011 8:25 PM
I actually love yoga. It's one of my fave workouts!!!
  3522272
June 29, 2011 8:26 PM
I am obese and I love yoga! I don't have the confidence to actually go to a class but I have lots of yoga dvd's. Sure, I can't do all the poses as well as 'skinny people' but I do the best I can and I love it. As I lose weight I notice a big difference in how limber I am and how far I can stretch.
June 29, 2011 8:28 PM
I've done a lot of yoga, pilates and taichi in classes over the past 2 years and I'd say at least half the people are overweight (obviously classes attract people trying to loose weight, right?) and there're always about 10-15% that are more so.
I remember one women who was really overweight, but insanely flexible. I was really jealous of her in the yoga classes, because my hip, groin and hamstring range of motion has never been that good!
June 29, 2011 8:28 PM
I've taken a couple of classes and the instructor was good about giving modifications to suit the beginners. I'm pretty flexible anyway and also am really in the mindset of "I don't care if people are watching, I'm doing my thang" :) If I hadn't had that attitude from the start, I wouldn't have lost as much as I have. Remember you are doing this for you, and everyone else is there for themselves, and probably won't be watching you:) Good luck!
  229358
June 29, 2011 8:30 PM
My dad is over 330lbs and does yoga. And not just a gentle class, he takes vinyasa. He has even taken a hot yoga class with me!
Now mind you, my dad doesn't take yoga classes religiously every week but he takes a few classes (at least) each month.

I've been practicing yoga for quite a number of years now, and I can tell you that people of all ages, shapes, and sizes take yoga. Yoga is not about how far you can stretch or how long you can hold a posture.... for me yoga is ultimately about letting go, learning to be present, and acceptance. Through practicing yoga I learned a lot about acceptance, because there are some days you want to do something and your body just won't allow you to do it. I recommend starting with a beginner, gentle yoga class. Get there early, and introduce yourself to the instructor. Explain to him/her any limitations you may have, any problems with your body.

A book I've been wanting to read (I heard it was good) was "Yoga from the inside out: Making peace with your body through yoga" by Christina Sell. Maybe you will find it interesting.

Definitely let me know how your first yoga class goes! I'm excited to hear!
June 29, 2011 8:31 PM
Hi!

I have been going to yoga for years and I've seen all kinds of people coming to give it a shot.
It's really great and don't let your weight be a barrier. If you stick with it you'll see that everyone has his own "disabilities" or things that make it hard for them to do yoga. It's very individual so try not to compare yourself with others (I know it's hard, but it's worth the struggle :)
Don't worry about it and try to stay focused on what your doing on your mat, you don't have to be "good" at yoga in order to benefit from it and enjoy it and like everything else in life... stick with it and it'll just get easier and easier :)
June 29, 2011 8:31 PM
I have a hard time with yoga but I do what I can.
  6815620
June 29, 2011 8:32 PM
I, and several other women I know who are my size, do yoga all of the time. Look up pictures of Indian women doing Yoga. There are LOTS of us "fat" women doing it.

Yes, I believe you had bad videos and/or expected yourself to be able to do the poses/stretches perfectly right out of the starting gate.

Getting into Yoga is like getting into Martial Arts. You don't start off busting boards and wielding katanas on your first session. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not become Mr. Universe the first time he picked up a dumb bell. The base lesson of Yoga is patience. Patience with your body. Patience with your breath. Patience with becoming one with the moves you are doing. In Yoga, you go at your own pace and not of someone else's. If the instructor is expecting you to hit poses perfectly, they are not a teacher you want.

Yes, I would suggest joining a class. It may teach you the basics.

As for videos, my personal favorite is "Crunch Fitness: The Joy of Yoga". It's very low impact, yet high work out too.
  8674163
June 29, 2011 8:33 PM
Yoga for beginners should be fine. If your feeling nervous about going to the class you can always call the instructor and share your concerns before the class. I've been in plenty of classes where there were overweight people, and a good instructor will offer alternative moves for people who are struggling. Can I also suggest water aerobics? If they do it in your area it is a GREAT low-impact high energy workout, and its a great way to start getting into shape without putting a lot of strain on your body. Also, the water is nice and cool so you don't sweat! Don't give up! A positive attitude is where a good healthy body starts!
June 29, 2011 8:36 PM
Oh find a good teacher and/or studio!!!!!!!!

Yoga should never hurt.
Yoga is not about achieving the perfect pose.
But the journey toward your pose.
Focus on alignment, not how far or deep you can get into the pose.
Often when you relax into a pose you get a better stretch.
It's a lot about using you body as weights or using the weight of your body to achieve a better stretch.

Push enough that you can feel the stretch, but never feel pain.
It is a gradual process, that you hardly notice until you think back and say hey last year I couldn't do that.
I read somewhere those who practice yoga over the long term also tend to maintain a healthy weight over the long term.

OH YES!!!!!!
Remember to breath.
  2131607
June 29, 2011 8:37 PM
i do pilates which is a lot like yoga, but a little harder. pilates is amazing. it DOES hurt and you WILL feel it the next day, you have to push yourself through it. i suggest pilates, you burn a lot more calories and it really helps shred fat and tone and sculpt your body. yoga you sit in the pose for a loooong time and it doesn't really burn as many calories. but to answer your question, ALL sizes can do yoga and pilates! big girls/guy can participate in any class thinner girls/guys do. :)
  7409440
June 29, 2011 8:37 PM
I started yoga last year when I was pushing 290, I am around 210 now. I believe most of my weight loss, strength and flexibility comes from my practice. Do what you can do and take your time learning. You will notice the difference as you improve.
V.
  3316178
June 29, 2011 8:38 PM
I HAVE NOT TRIED YOGA YET...HOWEVER JUST STARTED TAKING BODY BUMP AND AEROBIC CHALLENGE AT THE Y AND OMG! I FEEL SO OUT OF SHAPE AT TIMES BUT ITS SO ENCOURAGING TO GO BECAUSE THE OTHER PPL IN CLASS AND INSTRUCTOR ARE ALL POSITIVE AND HELP ADJUST CERTAIN PARTS OF CLASS FOR YOU TO KEEP UP... I EVEN HAVE HAD TO TAKE A BREAK 5-10 MIN FROM MY HEART RATE GETTING TO HIGH ON MY HRM LIKE OVER 200!! BUT THE INSTRUCTORS KNOW ITS HARD THEY BE DRIPPING POURING SWEAT AT TIMES!! AND ITS NICE THAT I FEEL COMFORTABLE TO GO! TRY A CLASS...IF YOU DONT LIKE THE INSTRUCTOR OR THE ATMOSPHERE TRY ANOTHER--- BUT FROM MY EXPERIENCE THE FITNESS COACHES ARE EXTREMELY NON JUDGMENTAL! THEY HAVE WORKED WITH ALL SHAPES SIZES CONDITIONS ETC... GOOD LUCK GRL! U CAN DO WHATEVER YOU SET UR MIND 2!
  6956032
June 29, 2011 8:40 PM
Yes, definitely go to a class. In the class I go to there are people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and weights. People will be too focused on looking at the instructor and/or themselves in the mirror to notice you. Also, being "fat" doesn't necessarily mean you'll be bad at yoga. I'm thin, but very inflexible so some of the heavier people that have been doing yoga longer than I have put me to shame. Let your instructor know that you're new to yoga and they will give you modifications for most moves and just sit the ones out that seem impossible right now. Good luck!
  2828624
June 29, 2011 8:42 PM
I started yoga 50lbs heavier than I am now and you can do it. Being heavy isnt going to stop you from doing yoga and when you go to a beginners class most ppl in it are new to yoga too. You will get better at it. My yoga teacher says "its like learning to walk. You had to learn how and you have to learn how to do yoga." I wont lie, Yoga was harder for me then because my tummy did get in the way but I didnt feel like i was the only fat one there. Most yoga places are very welcoming and can help you modify your poses. I go to many different classes now and theres all shapes, sizes and ages. I love yoga and go almost everyday so add me if you need some support. Yoga has all kinds of great benefits. good luck and namaste :)
June 29, 2011 8:44 PM
I do yoga and I absolutely love it! I am a beginner and I can't do all the poses, but I am getting there slowly :) I have yoga DVD's that I follow at home. I have too much of a busy schedule to go to the gym. I really love Elena Brower DVD's and philosophy about yoga. Don't push your body to do more than what it can and you should be fine.
June 29, 2011 8:45 PM
I attend yoga classes all the time. I started when I was about 350'ish. My only problem is when I use the wrong mat, and my feet stick to it. Makes changing positions extremely difficult.
June 29, 2011 8:50 PM
yes, we do yoga (us not so skinny people) :)

take a beginners class, just concentrate on imitating the poses as best as you can, breathe through your nose... :)

I've done both DVDs and classes...if you talk to the instructor beforehand they can be helpful. Good luck!
  5554304
June 29, 2011 9:25 PM
QUOTE:

i do pilates which is a lot like yoga, but a little harder. pilates is amazing. it DOES hurt and you WILL feel it the next day, you have to push yourself through it. i suggest pilates, you burn a lot more calories and it really helps shred fat and tone and sculpt your body. yoga you sit in the pose for a loooong time and it doesn't really burn as many calories. but to answer your question, ALL sizes can do yoga and pilates! big girls/guy can participate in any class thinner girls/guys do. :)


im sorry but this isnt true... there are lots of yoga style classes out there. I did a yoga sculpt and burned 425 calories in one hour. I have done both pilates and yoga. I have an hrm so I know i burn more in my vinyasa yoga classes then pilates. Another thing is yoga is nothing like pilates. the breathing is even different.
Edited by Shanzstar On June 29, 2011 9:37 PM
June 29, 2011 9:33 PM
i do yoga, and i have been doing it even while i was quite fat. i'm probably one of the fattest handful in my class, and even though i've been doing it for over 10 years, i will never be able to do certain moves because of my dodgy knees.

If you have a good instructor and are doing a beginners class, they should have alternatives for all ages and all levels of flexibility.

I once did a class where it was full of grannies, the instructor was 86 years old and a super yoga freak! She was awesome.

i do a reasonably advanced class now, and there are plenty of things i can't do. but even really fit people, especially people who run and have tight hamstrings, can't do many of the moves. and they are watching me (fatty over here) being able to do twice as much as them probably wondering whats wrong if i can do it and they can't.

it's not about getting to the same position as the instructor, it's about getting to your limit, and working there. It should never be painful. That is the most important thing about yoga, you do what you can do and stop, don't try and stick your head up your butt, if you just aren't that flexible. many classes i've done in my time have older people, injured people and all sizes. it doesn't matter if you can touch your toes or if you are still only half way there, the benefits are still there. It's very important not to overdo it.
June 29, 2011 9:45 PM
silveryflutterby, i feel your pain.

while i see the benefit of yoga -- and KNOW i need to be stretching and breathing more -- i have tried a few classes at my ymca and it wasn't pretty. in fact, i felt a lot like you. big belly that got in the way + wobbly/weak right knee + lack of flexibility = AWKWARD self consciousness! to be honest, i stopped going for those reasons.

a few years later i took some (5-6) private pilates sessions. they were VERY difficult, and i had the same issues as above, but they helped build confidence, strength and flexibility. the cost kept me from continuing, but at least they gave me a perspective that it can be done and that it's definitely worth it--and that it takes time to get comfortable with it all.

i'd encourage you to be patient. stay the course. find what feels good to you and your body. then just do it!
June 29, 2011 9:48 PM
Very awesome feedback and suggestions! You have inspired me to give it a go! I will definitely be talking with the instructor ahead of time like some suggested, just to let them know that I'm new so hopefully they will look out for me. :) I am not new to group exercise, just yoga. I have done Zumba at the Y, but that was a lot easier to try because I had done many aerobic workout videos at home and felt more confident with that. I have literally only tried yoga like twice in my life and didn't get through it either time. As far as water aerobics go...that would mean I have to wear a bathing suit in public. lol. It's good to know that the instructor can modify things...I am also hoping to improve my flexibility and relieve some stress with yoga. I do have a problem with patience and maybe yoga can help with that. :) I have a membership at the Y and it says you have to sign up for the yoga class so I will call tomorrow to get signed up!! Thanks again everyone!
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