Can I Do Yoga If I’m Overweight?

Can I Do Yoga If I’m Overweight?
Because the majority of depictions of yoga involve thin, fit women, there’s a relatively common misconception that you can’t do yoga if you’re overweight. Not only can you successfully learn and practice yoga when overweight, but it’s also not at all uncommon to meet a yoga instructor with a larger body type. If you have thus far strayed away from yoga because you felt your body wasn’t suited for it, think again — try yoga!

Doing Yoga When Overweight

While yoga isn’t going to be the speed weight-loss plan you may have been hoping for, it can bring flexibility, mental and physical awareness, general comfort in your own body, and over time will bring fitness and weightloss.  Many overweight or obese people, even ones that are slightly overweight, can feel uncomfortable in their bodies; sitting on the floor, bending over, or even standing for extended periods of time can bring discomfort.  Yoga can help us feel more comfortable in our own skin by making us more self-aware and understanding of our bodies.

Yoga is an especially great form of exercise for people who are overweight or obese because many styles of yoga are low-impact; more vigorous exercises, like running, can be over-exhausting and even cause joint pain.  Not only can you move at your own pace in yoga and select specific poses that will benefit your body type, you can also alter positions to cater to your body as well.

Beyond the physical aspect, one of the biggest obstacles for people who are overweight or obese can be the mental and emotional struggle.  The positive meditation and deep breathing exercises of yoga can provide insight and mental clarity, pushing us to make better, healthier life choices. Meditation and deep breathing can also help with anxiety and depression, so if you’re being held back by negative thoughts or stress you may find that yoga will help eradicate these issues as well.  By opening up your mind to positive thoughts and experiences, you will be one step closer to feeling healthier and more comfortable in your body!

If you’re considering getting into yoga and are overweight or obese, there are several ways to make yoga a more comfortable exercise for you. Try widening your stance a little for some extra stability; over time, you can shorten it bit by bit until you can have them hip-width apart.  Don’t be afraid to use props! Yoga straps and yoga blocks can help you in positions that require bringing your hands to the ground and can stretch you further than you knew possible. Make sure to listen and respond to your body.  If your skin is getting in the way of you comfortably getting into a position, don’t hesitate to grab it and move it out of the way! Also, take the time to observe a pose and consider if it’s really right for you.  Also! And most importantly, stay positive!  Don’t let your mind be the barrier between you and a healthier life, make it a tool to push you along the way!  Yoga is a personal connection with the body and mind, so there’s no room for competition or comparison; it’s all about you!

Sources

  • http://www.lbjs.net/pdf/KHWDrMakkWeb.pdf
  • http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/cant-do-yoga-think-again
  • http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/04/10/yoga-for-people-who-are-overweight-or-obese

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