Is your size or how you feel about your body holding you back from attending a yoga class? I often hear people say ‘I am too big to practice Yoga‘ or ‘Let me loose weight and then I’ll try’, but there is no need to wait. A Yoga practice can be adapted for everyone’s needs, gentler movements and a slower pace can be introduced where necessary, and the yoga postures can be adapted to be more accessible and comfortable for the larger body. The breathing and meditation is also hugely beneficial for reconnecting with the body for those who may feel disconnected
People with larger bodies can be very strong and fit, or can experience reduced mobility for a variety of related and unrelated reasons, either way you are welcome to attend classes at Light Yoga Space and we will work together with you to make it work for you.
I once did a yoga demonstration showcasing some of the more advanced yoga postures. I was approached at the end of the session by someone who said to me that they were surprised to see someone with my body type doing such dynamic poses. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I think it is more a case of being underrepresented and stereotyped than it is larger bodied people being any more or less likely to be able to do what anyone else can do given the same time and training.
Janice Kate is the proprietor of Light Yoga Space and has been teaching Sivananda yoga for over 15 years and studying the practice for nearly 25. She has trained exclusively with the worldwide Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Organisation. She is a highly experienced, empathic and sensitive teacher dedicated to teaching all shapes and sizes of people, passionate about supporting herself and others on the ongoing journey towards a healthy body image, physical, mental, spiritual health, and self-acceptance
Dear larger body. Hello and welcome to the Light Yoga Space. In this studio your body is celebrated in all it's stunning glory. Every roll of flesh every beautiful curve, is expressly welcome here. Our bodies are stunning manifestations of our souls and we welcome every bit of you.
In this day and age yoga has become a bit of a social media phenomenon. The Light Yoga Space needs it's FB/instagram presence to reach people I otherwise couldn't, but the amount of body obsession disguising itself as yoga that I have to wade through in order to express our beautiful simple message of self love is excruciating
I go out of my way to not indulge the western obsession with bodies at my yoga studio. The phrase 'yoga body' literally makes me feel sick. I have a body, I practice yoga, I therefor have an amazing yoga body :)
My vision is to have all body shapes and sizes of people comfortably practicing together and getting what they need in every class, for people to come to class and feel welcome and like they fit in, without the threat of judgment from anyone else in the room.
This has proved easier said than done. As someone whose body weight has ebbed and flowed like the tides, and who has struggled with much weight loss and weight gain over the years and throughout it all has maintained a yoga practice, I know how excruciating it can feel to sometimes be the only larger person in a room full of slimmer people and to be in the minority. I know how daunting it can be to attend a yoga class for the first time and all the difficult feelings that go with showing up and feeling exposed. I would experience feelings of shame around drawing attention to myself because my boobs were in my face in shoulderstand, or because I'm huffing and puffing self-consciously in sun salutation. It is also hard when carrying extra weight to come face to face with my own body in the postures, I have struggled with becoming painfully conscious of my big belly stoping me from going as far as I'd like in forward bend or half spinal twist. Then with so much already going on internally, if a teacher drew any attention to me, singled me out in class, even with the best intentions of trying to help me with a gentle adaptation I felt humiliated and exposed. I wanted to remain invisible and it put me off practicing at all even as a teacher with years of yoga experience, so I can only imagine how it feels to be brand new to yoga and experiencing some or all of the above
I have been working with my own body and mind connection. I went through a period in my practice where my reluctant, negative, experience-weary mind, hated my body for being 'too fat for yoga' and I didn't trust it at all. I hated practice and I hated that what I used to be able to do I could no longer do because I was 'TOO' fat. Over time I learned to let go more, to trust my body's rhythm more, to be less attached to what the rest of the people in the room 'thought about me' as if I knew. To be less attached to what everyone else was able to do, to be less attached to what I used to be able to do, to process feelings of shame, jealousy and alienation at the same time as just trying to enjoy the gentle sensations of practice in my body when I listened to it, stopped trying to make it do too much, relaxed when I needed to, stopped pushing, and honoured what every ache, pain, and emotion was trying to tell me. This is what I hope to be able to share with my students now.
*A note on this being a womxn’s class. Whilst I seek to keep this primarily a womxn dominated space, I identify myself as non binary and I understand that choosing to name this a womxn’s course is far from uncomplicated. I want to keep this class queer friendly, and I actively welcome ALL fat members of the trans and non binary community who want to attend, trans men, trans women and anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary are all welcome. Despite the gendered parameters of the course my goal is ultimately to create a safe welcoming, womxn friendly, queer friendly, space for fat people to practice yoga in. The title of the course is a work in progress suggestions are welcome.