Tips for Plus-Size Yoga
Despite the image of the typical yoga practitioner as lean and perfectly toned, you don't have to have a great body to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Even if you're overweight, yoga asanas can help you reduce your stress level while reaching your fitness goals.
The first step in beginning a yoga practice is deciding what style of yoga you are interested in. Most yoga studios offer classes covering several different styles of yoga. Power yoga is a great way to improve your strength and flexibility while burning enough calories to accelerate your weight loss efforts. Bikram yoga, a type of hot yoga, is also a popular choice for yoga for overweight people. However, many people find this style of yoga difficult to practice because the heated room makes them feel like they are going to pass out.
If you're uncomfortable with the idea of working out in an organized class and your budget won't allow for a private instructor, there are many excellent DVDs available tailored to meet the needs of overweight people interested in yoga.
As you begin your yoga practice, keep in mind that yoga is not a competitive sport. One of the most important aspects of plus-size yoga is the focus on personal improvement and self acceptance.
Using Props in Plus-Size Yoga
If you find that you are unable to perform certain yoga poses, consider investing in a set of basic yoga props. Professionals who have studied the benefits of yoga for overweight people report that props can be useful in promoting proper alignment throughout a challenging asana.
For example, yoga blocks can be used to gain height or provide support in difficult poses. Straps are another useful prop, since they can help you reach your hands or feet in poses where you have limited flexibility. A yoga ball, although not as commonly used as yoga blocks or yoga straps, may be beneficial for stretching and improving your general range of motion.
A Word of Caution Regarding Yoga and Overweight People
If you are overweight and interested in beginning a yoga workout routine, it's best to speak with your doctor before you start. He/she can advise you of any precautions that might be necessary to avoid injury or risks to your health. This is particularly important if you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, or another chronic medical condition related to your weight.
It's also a good idea to remember that yoga experts recommend heavier students avoid headstands, since these poses can result in neck problems if the spine becomes overwhelmed.