If you have always wanted to try yoga but get cold feet because you are not in shape, you’ll be pleased to discover that your weight does not have to be an impediment to participating in this remarkable type of exercise. That said, this guide on yoga for overweight people is meant to help you as a beginner easily get started.
Yoga is a scientific system of mental and physical practices. Each one is designed to help us reach our maximum potential and enjoy better health and greater happiness.
Don’t let your level physical fitness and your weight stop you from participating in yoga and enjoying its many benefits. Yoga is a gentle and basic type of exercise that is ideal for plus size people. So let us show you how you can get started today.
Can Overweight People Do Yoga?
In spite of what you may have heard, yoga is perfect for everyone, not just those who are thin and fit. In fact, the advantages of yoga for overweight individuals are exactly the same as they are for someone who has reached his or her ideal weight or who has been thin for a lifetime.
However, if you are like most people who are carrying some extra pounds, you may feel a bit depressed at the thought of attending a yoga class with a group of skinny minis. This is completely natural since no one wants to stand out in a negative way. Fortunately, it is easy to eliminate this obstacle and ultimately reap the full benefits of participating in yoga.
Choose a Beginner-Friendly Environment
Some of the alternatives to attending yoga class include working out at home. Because yoga does not require any special equipment other than comfortable clothing and a yoga mat, you can easily work through a routine in the privacy of your own dwelling. This eliminates the embarrassment you might feel when in the presence of others and allows you to relax as you learn. In addition, with no self-consciousness, you can fully concentrate on completing each movement correctly and master the routines with no distractions.
Another option you may find appealing is taking a yoga class specifically designed for overweight individuals. With this option, you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place or ashamed, as you are surrounded by people with similar challenges who have the same goals. Such an atmosphere can also be very encouraging, as you can help to motivate others and accept support from them in return.
Tips for Plus Size Yoga Participants
Now that you have made a decision to take the plunge and enjoy yoga for overweight beginners, here are some suggestions you will find helpful.
Always begin with slow, basic movements. Never try to do too much all at once or you may become overwhelmed and discouraged. Additionally, you may overdo it and inadvertently strain or stress a joint or muscle.
Extra-thick Yoga Mat
Always choose an extra thick yoga mat. Try to find a mat that is up to one inch thick, as this will help protect your joints and make you more comfortable as you go through the movements.
Trust me when I say if you’re not comfortable or your knees or elbows are hurting when performing yoga exercises you will most likely lose interest and quit. I have a list of hard to find extra thick and up to 1″ thick yoga mats you can find on Amazon that can help with this.
Wear loose-fitting clothes so that you can do all the motions without restriction. This is one time you don’t have to worry about fashion, as no one expects you to be dressed up when exercising.
Here is a great video to watch that is inspirational and shows that you are not alone. There are other overweight people successfully taking part in yoga exercise and enjoying it on top of that. The below video is titled “Gentle Yoga for Bigger Bodies”.
Yoga for Overweight People Offers Many Benefits
Yoga is a great choice of exercise for overweight people. Many of the benefits are particularly helpful for those who are carrying extra weight. The following are just some of the advantages associated with this type of work out:
- Increased balance and flexibility
- increased metabolism & weight loss
- Improved sleep
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Better circulation
- Increased energy & vitality
- Helps the lymphatic system which fights infection
- Increases mental clarity & focus
- Positive attitude
- Can help lower blood sugar
- Releases tension
- Helps with digestion
- Increased self-esteem
In addition, research indicates that yoga can promote weight loss, boost your metabolism, and help you build muscle. It is also an ideal choice if you want to strengthen your joints and your heart.
How to Stay Motivated
Because you are making a long-term commitment and want to stay on course, you probably realize that motivation is very important. Nevertheless, most people would agree that beginning a new exercise program is relatively easy, but staying engaged and refusing to give up are sometimes quite challenging.
Track Your Progress
One particularly effective way to stay motivated is to start tracking your progress immediately. This can be as simple as making a checkmark in a notebook or on your phone’s calendar every time you successfully complete a workout. Being able to look back at each small victory is very satisfying and can motivate you to keep going and set higher goals.
You should also reward yourself occasionally when you reach a specific fitness goal. Even simple things like buying a new workout outfit or enjoying a cup of gourmet coffee can help keep you inspired.
Set Realistic Goals
Being realistic is also important. If you set impractical goals or have unrealistic expectations of yourself, you are far more likely to give up early than if you take the attitude of “slow and steady wins the race.”
Join Online Communities Or Social Networks
You may also wish to consider joining an online community or social networking site where you can get support from other individuals who are trying to live healthier lifestyles and enhance their level of physical fitness. Research has proven that if you get this type of support, you are three times more likely to reach your goals.
Taking the Next Step
After enjoying the numerous benefits of yoga for overweight people, you will have more confidence in yourself and may find that you are inspired to start walking, join a gym or participate in an aerobics class. All of these are great options to continue on in your quest for a happier, healthier life.
Consider asking someone you met in your yoga class to join a fitness center with you and be your workout partner. If your budget allows, you may also want to schedule a few personal training sessions to ensure that you continue to set appropriate goals for the future.
Fortunately, your level of physical fitness and your weight need not stop you from participating in yoga and enjoying its many benefits. Everyone has to start somewhere, and yoga is a gentle, basic type of exercise that is ideal for plus size people.
Don’t procrastinate and let second thoughts stop you from enhancing your life. Rather, make the addition of this exercise a priority and enjoy the many ways it will improve your life.
Finally, always check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.
With over 30 years of experience in strength training and fitness, Mark LaRue is the founder of Fitness Mastered, a blog to help educate fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels, age, and gender. We write topics that range from weight training tips and exercise routines to home workout machine and fitness related product reviews, to name a few.