I started doing yoga as a way to gain physical strength and flexibility. What was interesting about this yoga journey is, I found so much more from Yoga than I ever expected. Not only does it help me keep my mobility (I suffer from chronic pain), but it taught me a lot about inner strength and self love as well as body positivity and calming my inner thoughts.
Yoga is something you will find in nearly every community these days. There are large studios and even smell practices that will bring a yoga instructor to your home for a session. You can even find video after video on youtube for it. As I started my journey with yoga, I felt intimidated because as a plus sized woman, I noticed that I couldn’t do a lot of the poses and because I lacked flexibility, I had a hard time forming my body to the right positions as well.
The great thing about yoga is it can be accommodated for any size body by use of tools (such as yoga belts and blocks) as well as just allowing your body to naturally form itself into the way in which it feels right. If you are looking to get started with yoga, here are some poses I recommend starting with.
Center- This is a very simple one that is great for meditating or just getting ready to start your yoga session and work on your breathing. Simply sit with your legs crossed however they feel comfortable and with your back straight, place your hands together as shown in the picture. Practice your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.
Downward Facing Dog- When many people think about yoga, Downward Facing Dog comes to mind. It is great for things like back pain and for stretching. I always go into it by first coming to all fours with my knees on the floor and then pushing up into the position while breathing in. You want your feet about hip’s width apart and your hands as well, firmly planted on the ground. You can hang your head or look up and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.
Cow/Cat Pose- I love this one for opening my spine and breathing. It also feel phenomenal for my back. For this, you get on all fours with the knees on the ground and your shoulders aligned over the wrists. For Cow Pose, you curl your spine in (think placing your stomach down and hips up) and breathe in and for Cat Pose, you curl your back up and your hips down and in while breathing out. (Think of how a cat looks when it arches its back.
Cobra Pose- This is another great one for stretching the back and shoulders. To do Cobra Pose, lie flat on your belly with your legs stretched out. Using your hands, gently press up your shoulders and upper back so that your hips remain on the ground as well as your legs. Lower yourself and go up slowly again, breathing throughout. Inward breath is up and downward breath is down.
For a little challenge, you can try Tree Pose. This one can be very hard to do for some people who don’t have a lot of coordination, but I think it is a great balance pose for learning to do this in yoga and less challenging than many others.If you want, find something to lean against something until you can balance on your own. I think tree pose is good for learning balance, though so it is definitely worth trying. For Tree Pose, place one foot as high up on your thigh or leg as you can and balance on the other foot. Place your hands up to the sky (or some people do a more rounded version like myself) and balance this way, practicing your breathing for as long as you can or want to.
Remember that if something hurts, you shouldn’t force yourself into a position. Instead, try to modify it and be patient with yourself. You will increase flexibility at any size and level with a bit of practice.
Also keep in mind that it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. -Namaste!
Written By Christine Tolhurst from Saved By Grace Blog
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