10 Sep Yoga and Plus Size
Just as Yoga practitioners can be in all kinds of mental conditions, physically they come in all shapes and sizes too. And the old misconception that slim equals fit and plus size does not is slowly but surely being done away with: From plus size models that can be seen on catwalks and in magazines alike to plus size store mannequins that finally reflect a person’s real proportions more accurately than before, it is okay to be curvy. Yoga is a great way to find out how to fit one really is, in any size.
Having a plus-size body does not prevent one from being a good Yoga practitioner; on the contrary, the flexibility of mind and body transcends body shape and size. Yoga and especially it’s physical part, the third step in Ashtanga Yoga – Asanas – was never meant for weight loss or body shaping purposes. Asanas are an indirect way of controlling the mind, namely through the body. Any other benefits are mere byproducts.
That is not to say that regular practitioners of Asanas will not see any toning or shaping of the body and an increase in stamina, however, a person’s weight may stay exactly the same or even increase as muscle tone is heavier than fat. Better indicators of progress in yoga are the stability of posture, the ability to maintain any posture for a certain period of time and an increase in flexibility, both physically and mentally.
Diet, of course, is important as well; not only what to eat but also when to eat: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks should be eaten on time and at approximately the same time every day to get the body into a nice routine and to allow for adequate digestion between meals and before bedtime. So while dinner should ideally be had no later than 7:30 pm, an afternoon snack can be taken around 4 pm, lunch between 12:00 and 1:30 pm and breakfast between 7:00 and 8:30 am. That also means to portion one’s meal, i.e. breakfast should not be so heavy that one is still full at lunchtime. The same is true for lunch and dinner, which should be the lightest meal of the day. Also important: One full glass of liquid should be consumed after each meal.
As long as caution is taken that one’s body weight does not hamper mobility (e.g. forward bending) or causes shortness of breath and other disadvantages, then being plus size and doing yoga go together well. A balanced diet of fresh, healthy and light (Sattvik) food, eaten at the right times during the day, will also aid in furthering one’s health. Last but not least, acceptance of being plus size rather than trying to squeeze oneself into a too-tight corset of what is considered an acceptable beauty standard by others can work wonders when shedding weight-induced stress.