Please note that I am not a physician or medical practitioner and cannot give advice on starting an exercise program. Check with your doctor before starting any sort of exercise regimen.
I started doing yoga a while back. I decided to do it because I often have stiff, sore muscles due to chronic pain caused by Lyme disease. It is incredibly helpful and since I can’t do many strenuous cardio or other exercises, it gives me a chance to get some healthy workout time in. It also helps me relieve stress as well as keeps me grounded. I have noticed that not only do I feel better physically, but it keeps me feeling positive as well.
One of the issues with doing yoga, though, is the fact that many of the positions are hard to do when you are plus sized like I am. Simply and bluntly put, my extra “stuff” gets in the way and I am far less flexible as well. This doesn’t stop me, however! Here are some tips for doing yoga if you are pleasantly plus sized like myself!
Tips for Doing Yoga When you are Plus Sized
Get yourself a yoga mat. You definitely need one no matter what, but as a plus sized individual, I highly recommend one. Since it can be hard to hold the positions, and your joints may be in pain, you will need some extra cushioning for your yoga time. Yoga mats do not have to cost a lot, either. There are many great low cost yoga mats online that cost less than $10.
Drink plenty of water before and after you do your yoga session. Many people equate yoga with stretching and not really getting your heart going. This is false and I quickly learned this the first time I did it. I sweat a lot when I do my yoga and so I found out that it is vital to drink lots of water before and after my yoga session.
Listen to your body. Yoga can and will be uncomfortable at first, but it should never hurt. If you are finding that it is hurting too much to do certain stretches and positions, skip them or do what you can. With practice, you will get better.
Modify positions. You can modify some positions in yoga to make them easier for you to do. For instance, during Sun Salutations, when I get to the Swan Dive and the Standing Lunge, my belly gets in the way. I don’t try to move my body in a way it won’t. Instead, I don’t do the full lunge and I tuck my hands behind my back rather than forward to give my belly more stretching room.
Try out different sets and find ones your body works for. Don’t feel defeated if you can’t do some stuff. It’s OK! Try to remind yourself of what you ARE capable and not what you aren’t.
Get some good yoga clothing. Again, this does not have to cost a lot. I work out in cheap leggings and a cotton tunic top. I do recommend a great (not just good!) sports bra if you are busty. Many of the positions in yoga call for you to bend forward and a good sports bra will keep your (ahem) “ladies” in place.
Challenge yourself regularly. While you should not feel bad about not being able to do certain positions, you should also not deny yourself a challenge. Keep trying harder positions. You will get more flexible over time.
Do Partner Positions. These are great for helping each other achieve a goal and they allow you to support each other while trying to do some more challenging positions.
Do you do yoga as a plus sized individual? What are some of your tips?