We’ve all seen the pictures of people doing Yoga—super thin models, wearing expensive outfits, doing extreme yoga poses. Not very encouraging to the average American woman who is 5’4” and wears a size 14 or larger. Meera Patricia Kerr, author of Big Yoga, gives us step by step instructions on a yoga pose that has been reinvented for the plus size woman. No more excuses!
"I had been teaching Yoga for over 25 years when I began to adapt my own poses to accommodate my bigger, older body. My experiments with my own body give rise to Big Yoga-- an adapted practice that is accessible to anyone challenged by extra weight, stiffness, injury or even couch-potato-ism. The Big Yoga book offers over 40 poses that are adapted to various body types, to help get the body in good shape. Other, more meditative, practices are also offered to help calm the mind. The overall effect is to harmonize all the systems of the body, creating more vitality, less stress, and jois de vivre!"
Here is a simple vinyasa or flow practice, the Salute to the Sun, that we can do at the wall. Traditionally, it’s done on the yoga mat, and it can be quite strenuous. This adapted version is a great way to tone and strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility.
Begin standing, feet parallel and about a foot apart. Bring the palms together at the heart center to help get the mind focused.
Interlace the fingers as you stretch upwards.
Exhale as you take a gentle back bend, feeling the squeeze across the shoulder blades. Stretch up again on an inhale, and begin to bend from the hips as you exhale--
Bending forward and down until you come into a comfortable forward bend. Keep the knees soft if you like, and don’t go beyond your capacity. Soften the back of the neck and relax.
Inhale as you come up into Wall Dog, and continue to feel the breath expanding and contracting the side ribs as you hold the pose.
On an inhalation, bring the left knee to the wall, with the toes touching the wall also. Support yourself with the knee, and place the forearms on the wall with the elbows in line with the shoulders or a bit lower. As you continue to breathe, sink the pelvis toward the earth. Repeat on the other side: Step the left leg back, bringing the right foot and knee to the wall.
Step back with the right foot and walk the hands down the wall to hip level, coming back into the Wall Dog. Breathe.
Push away from the wall on an exhale and hang like a rag doll.
To come up out of the forward bend, begin with a squat. Let the arms come alongside the ears, palms facing each other. Have the eyes gazing toward the floor, softening the back of the neck.
Push off with strong legs, inhaling, until you’re all the way up, clasping hands overhead
Have a gentle back bend, exhaling as you go.
Inhale out of your backbend and bring the palms together at the heart center. Pause here, closing eyes, adjusting feet, and finally dropping the arms to the sides of the body. Take a moment to feel the effect of your practice.
Give yourself a little pat on the back for practicing Yoga! Do it again!
This sequence is online at my website, www.bigyoga.net. Under “Sample Pose”. Let me know how it works for you—I’d love to hear from you!
Meera Patricia Kerr
Author: BigYoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies
Shop for plus size yoga and gym clothing.