fat yogi

I’m coming late to this article, but as a fat yogini I feel I have to comment. It’s a post by Sadie Nardini referring to another post by a 300 lbs yogini who doesn’t feel like she fits in but keeps trying anyway.

I am always the fattest person in the yoga studio. I didn’t say biggest, because some of the men are bigger. Some. But whenever I go to a new yoga studio, I always assume I’ll be the fattest person there, and I always assume any new teacher is thinking either “what is she doing here?” or “oh she’s finally going to get some exercise!”  It’s the latter attitude that pisses me off the most. “Training for triathlons and biking 50 miles a week and doing Cathe videos is a lot more strenuous than your little yoga class,” I want to yell. “I’ve been exercising my ass off for 20 years. And oh yeah.  I’m a yoga teacher!” Of course I never say this. I keep it all in. And maybe that’s why I’m fat. Not.

I’m a big fan of Sadie Nardini’s core yoga, but her post just confirmed what I’d suspected for most:

“And, I have to admit, I do view obesity (I’m not talking about a healthy, curvy woman, mind you, but clinical obesity) as an imbalance that that originates in the ego’s shadow looming too large in front of the spirit’s light, but ultimately reflects in avoidable heart attacks, cancer, and strokes.

To be fair, I also see imbalances in myself and my students that manifest in other ways.”

The whole idea of fat people having issues, but thin people are somehow issue free drives me insane, and to be fair, Sadie explicitly recognizes that. However the idea that you can define what’s “wrong” with a person simply by the way they look is absolutely ridiculous. “The ego’s shadow looming too large in front of the spirit’s light.” Whahhh?  When feel they can say something like that for everyone who some other physical characteristic, then I’ll, maybe, consider it.

So let me be clear: There’s absolutely no issue that fat people has that thin people don’t have. Stop pretending they do.

January 11, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

getting fatter, getting better

I’m in the middle of a move, so I haven’t had time to go to yoga, only stretching some at home, mostly in bed, trying to figure my way around the new place, letting go of the old.  When I finally did go to a yoga class, I was shocked that my chaturangas were solid and strong, and my Vasisthasana was two-legged instead of my usual top leg forward for support. I was amazed. Again. In terms of asana, I’m a better yogi now than when I was smaller and practiced harder.

I’ve been amazed at my practice in the past few months because I’ve gained about 30lbs in the last nine months (honestly, much of that weight came between November and January. The holidays were fun!). But my practice has improved, a lot, since last summer when I was practicing pretty vigorously 5-6 times a week during teacher training. And I was 30lbs lighter.

I want to make sure everyone understands this is not “muscle weight”. I gained fat. My breasts are huge, my belly doughy, my hips and thighs can’t get into favorite skirts and jeans. I always think: “My practice would be so much better if I were smaller. If I were skinnier I’d be able to wrap myself around… myself, better.”  Would binds be easier if I had less to go around? Yes. No doubt. You can’t wrap 2 feet around 3 feet.

I also seem to improve when I limit my vigorous practices to maybe 2 to 3 times a week. I always have this desire to exercise hard, all the time, truth be told hoping to lose weight, even though I know from years of experience now, I won’t.  But maybe my body just needs more time to repair itself, to grow stronger. I’m starting to think that’s not really uncommon, especially the older you get. The older I get.

According to conventional wisdom, my practice should be getting worse. I should be getting weaker not stronger, less flexible not more. But I’m not. I notice my palm finding the floor in twists, not just my finger tips, not on a block. My core is stronger than I think it is. I try to trust my breath to lift me up when I think my muscles can’t. And I can tell you for a fact that I couldn’t do more than one chaturanga last summer, but now I can. And I can push up from it too. Well a few at least.

In terms of asana, I’m a better yogi now than when I was smaller and practiced harder.

September 4, 2009. Tags: , , . yoga. Leave a comment.