Until this year, there was no way anyone could drag me to a yoga studio. I mean no way at all! As a plus size woman, I had written yoga classes off as “showoff hour for lanky, thin, muscularly built and flexible people.” Who could blame me? Prior to the Jessamyn Stanleys of the world (who I love following), yoga has been widely marketed representing that demographic.
When I was offered a free week of yoga at Tantris in Los Angeles, I was at a place in life where I knew I needed the physical activity. I suffered great loss early in the year with the passing of my brother and then my grandfather 1 month following. I had about 80 lbs to lose, only looked in the mirror and saw what needed to be fixed, was experiencing symptoms of obesity and the strongest argument…I was on a budget and class was free. So, I took up the offer. I had nothing to lose.
I took a friend and went to class expecting nothing. Genuinely had no expectations other than to see the typical Hollywood model and actress types and to do a few Downward Dogs. But to my surprise, I loved class! It was challenging, but also surprisingly relaxing. We chanted and followed that with a vinyasa flow. I wasn’t great at the poses, but I felt my body asking for more yoga. I came back to class the following day, and the day after that. I continued coming back every day I possibly could thus beginning the transformation and journey I’m on today. So here they are…
5 Ways Yoga Has Improved My Life:
1.) For The First Time In My Adult Life, I Feel Connected To My Body
For a very long time, I looked in the mirror to see what needed to be fixed…but never really felt like or saw myself. To me, my arms were just fat and weak and my legs were gigantic. That was the way they always were & I had accepted them as such. But after beginning yoga, I started feeling strength and seeing shape in places I had so long ago given up on. I started actually feeling every movement my body makes and am grateful for the ability. I see (and feel) my body’s potential and know I’m putting in the work on the yoga mat to reach it.
2.) I Participated In A 30 Day Challenge & Went Vegan
The yoga studio I go to (Tantris Center For Yogic Science) held a 30 day challenge in which we were to eat vegan and attend class every day. I participated and felt so amazing by the end that I continued with the vegan part of the challenge.
3.) I Lost Weight & My Body Started Reshaping
There are moments on a daily basis when I have to do a double-take. Whether I’m passing by a mirror or looking at a photo someone took, I am in shock that for the most part…I’m not horrified and I don’t dislike what I see. I actually like my body. I haven’t weighed myself in weeks, but after weighing myself in the beginning I know I lost 20+ lbs in the 1st 2 months. Daily I see the results of the work I’m putting in on my mat. My posture has improved tremendously, my butt sits up higher (just being honest) and my cellulite is smoothing out. I actually have a great relationship with fitness because I’m enjoying the activity.
4.) I’ve Learned How To Meditate
I have a hard time sitting still. My mind just goes and goes. At the beginning and end of each yoga class, we have the opportunity to set intentions and meditate. The more I practice yoga, the better I get at putting myself into a meditative state. I’m able to tune out the craziness of the day, the list of things that need to be done, the stresses and the work. I can just sit in silence.
5.) I’ve Made Solid, Like-Minded Friends
The people I practice yoga with are truly amazing. They are of all age groups and genders and races. They’re so full of knowledge, wisdom, experience and love. They’ll celebrate with you just as quickly as they’ll volunteer to work a charity event with you. These people encourage your spiritual, physical and mental growth and when it comes down to it they have your back.