CONTRARY to the popular images of fit female yogis in tight lycra, yoga is an ancient practice designed for everybody – be it plus-size, tall or petite, disabled or old, and everyone in between.
Anyone who is plus-sized might feel they cannot do certain yoga moves, but Reyna, a plus-size yoga teacher from America is on a mission to make yoga accessible for all shapes and sizes.
In an Instagram video, she responded to a plus-size lady who admitted she was struggling to perform certain yoga poses because of her body shape.
Reyna said: “If your belly feels like it’s getting in the way of any moves, make some space for yourself.
“So for this move in particular, pulling [your] knees to[your] chest can be really unavailable for a lot of us and it creates uncomfortable compression.
“It [also] doesn’t let us get a deep enough stretch in our lower back and our hip, and it’s hard to grab our leg.”
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Luckily, Reyna demonstrated how the move can be adapted: “Bring your leg a little bit outside of the belly more towards your armpit.
“[Your] hand comes outside and around the back of your thigh – that way you can still pull in to get the release in your hip and lower back.
“This also works for a ‘knees to chest’ exercise – bring them a little bit wider, knees to the armpits.
“You could also use your hand to gently pull your belly to the side, and you create a little bit more space there.”
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She finished the video with: “It feels good, it gets to the same spot, and it’s actually accessible to your body.”
Reyna’s video resonated with a lot of women and a fellow instructor commented: “I love this and I give this variation all the time because it’s not just stomachs, but sometimes it’s the ‘girls,’ or some peoples reach and anatomy is different. Holding space for people means being mindful of our students’ bodies and anatomy and giving them the tools to embrace their body in the moment.”
Another yogi replied to Reyna’s video: “That’s what I call functional yoga! Thanks.”
Someone else said: “Inspiring seeing a normal-shaped person doing yoga.”
A third wrote: “Thank you so much for sharing this tip!”
Reyna doesn’t just share yoga variations and adaptations, she is also a personal trainer, and in another video, she showed how plus-size women can do burpees.
“Burpees, on the ground? As a plus-size person?” She remarked. “I love the sentiment but it’s not available to a large majority of us.
“Grab a chair, same motion but use the chair as your support.
“You still get all the burpee goodness if that’s what you like, without having to get up and down off the ground which can be really, really challenging for a lot of people, and especially a lot of plus-size people.”
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