I’m a curvy yoga teacher. And yes, that means what you think it does.
When I tell people I’m a yoga teacher, they sometimes get this look in their eyes like they’re waiting for a punch line. Like they just can’t wait to say, “oh, that’s hilarious!” guffaw a little and move on. Sometimes it gets a little awkward in those few seconds before they realize I’m not joking.
Many yoga studios are also beginning to realize that curvy folks aren’t joking when they say they want to practice yoga. Niche classes geared towards plus-sized practitioners are starting up, and these can be great places for people who never thought yoga was for them to give it a try.
What I’ve found, though, is that it’s one thing to offer a curvy yoga class. It’s another thing to create an environment where curvy practitioners feel welcome — both in the class and in the studio. Here are some tips for welcoming people with bigger bodies to your studio:
· Consider context. I once taught a curvy yoga class that was scheduled right after a weight loss class. All us curvy folks had to wait in the lobby as scores of glistening, thin people left. It was a little surreal, to say the least! A weight loss class isn’t inherently problematic; taking care of our bodies in healthy ways is wonderful. But we need to be careful about sending conflicting messages about changing our bodies and accepting them as they are.
Yoga for specific needs will likely only continue to grow in the future. Try these tips to get bigger bodies walking in your door—and staying!
* Photo courtesy of Eastern Serenity