March 25, 2014

A Case for the Big Girl Yogi. ~ Stephanie Rehor


Ever get that feeling in plow that if you stay in this pose a second longer you might be tragically suffocated to death by your breasts?

Being a big girl yogi is an interesting experience to say the least.

My weight is something that kept me from yoga for quite some time. I always thought all yogis had strong, toned bodies and that I needed to look like that before I could venture into the yoga world.

Yet, I couldn’t help but want the inner peace that was suppose to come with a yoga practice. I settled by getting a gym membership, and started meditating.

Needless to say, I rarely went to the gym and I never reached enlightenment. But through meditation I realized it wasn’t my body keeping me from yoga—it was my mind.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I’m the type of person who has to do things all or nothing. I knew from numerous failed attempts that buying a studio package would only lead me to make excuse after excuse to not go to class—furthering my insecurities and anxiety about yoga. I had to put my all into it or it wasn’t going to happen.

So naturally, I decided to become a teacher. It’s a bit terrifying being a part of the yoga society as a big girl.

I deal with worry about what the community will think of me, fears that my students will judge me, not being able to pry a size too small Lululemon pants over my hips, not feeling represented, etc.

There are tons of fears and insecurities that should keep a big girl like me from doing yoga. Yet, as terrifying as it is, developing a yoga practice is the most liberating thing I’ve ever done for myself.

I knew originally that my mind was keeping me from yoga but I never knew to what extent until I went head on into the practice. It forced me to dig deep into that wounded place inside of me and look at it through a different lens.

Why was I doing things like contorting myself into the deepest form of the pose only to reaffirm that I was too heavy for yoga? 

It was clear that all this judgment towards my body both in and out of class served no purpose.

Yoga wasn’t meant to change my body at all; it was intended to change the way I looked at my body. Now, after years of being disconnected to my ever-curvy figure, I’m finally starting to connect back to the very thing that gives me life. I walk onto the mat with a new mindset. Respecting my limits, I close my eyes and breathe and let each asana express the beauty of my whole self—body included.

I’m learning to love my body again. This is something I never thought I’d be able to do, unless I had a skinny figure. I urge any, and all people, regardless of size or statue to get out there and do yoga.

It’s not always going to be easy. It can take us to that dark, unknown place inside that we are all afraid to go. We need to uncover the darkness, so that it can direct us into the light.


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          Editorial Assistant: Lizzie Kramer / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Courtesy of  Gaia’s Love (Pixoto) and Chris Mare

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Stephanie Rehor