4 Fat Yoga Influencers Fighting Fatphobia on the Mat By Mary Fawzy

Not only is it possible to be fat and do yoga, it’s possible to master and teach it.

In the various yoga classes I’ve attended, I’m usually the biggest body. It’s not unexpected.

Even though yoga is an ancient Indian practice, it’s become heavily appropriated in the Western world as a wellness trend. Most of the images of yoga in ads and on social media are of thin, white women in expensive athletic gear.

If you don’t fit into those characteristics, it can be a mental battle to sign up in the first place. When I first stepped into a yoga studio, I questioned whether I’d be able to do it at all.

It’s not for people like me, I thought.

Still, something told me to do it anyway. Why shouldn’t I have a chance to experience the physical and mental benefits of yoga, just like everyone else?

The outlier on the mat

I went to my first class a few years ago at a studio in my neighborhood. I’ve been to a couple of different locations since then, but it’s been a bumpy road.

At times, it can feel embarrassing to be the only larger-bodied person in the room. Everyone struggles with certain postures now and then, but the experience is a lot more charged when everyone assumes you’re struggling because you’re fat.

After class one day, I chatted with the instructor about my body not reaching very far in certain poses. In a soothing, gentle voice, she said, “Well, maybe it’s a wakeup call.”

She didn’t know anything about my health, habits, or life. She assumed purely on my body shape that I needed a “wakeup call.”

Yoga fatphobia isn’t always as blatant as that.

Sometimes larger-bodied people like myself are prodded and poked a bit more than everyone else, or encouraged to force our bodies into postures that don’t feel right. Sometimes we’re completely ignored, as if we’re a lost cause.

Some of the equipment, like the adjustable bands, were too small for me, even at their max. Sometimes I had to do a different pose entirely, or was told to go into Child’s Pose and wait for everybody else.

My former instructor’s “wakeup call” comment made me think my body was the problem. If I lost weight, I thought, I’d be able to do the poses better.

Even though I was committed to practicing, going to yoga class made me feel anxious and unwelcome as time went on.

This is the opposite of what yoga should make you feel. It’s the reason that I and so many others eventually quit.


Yogis with bodies like me

Thank goodness for the internet. There are plenty of fat people online showing the world that not only is it possible to be fat and do yoga, it’s possible to master and teach it.

Finding these accounts on Instagram helped me reach levels in yoga practice I never imagined I could. They also made me realize that the only thing holding me back from doing so was stigma.

Jessamyn Stanley is an accomplished yoga influencer, teacher, author, and

READ MORE HERE: https://www.healthline.com/health/4-fat-yoga-influencers-fighting-fatphobia-on-the-mat#Yogis-with-bodies-like-me


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