When we think of yoga in the West, we are generally referring to hatha yoga, which is only one branch in ... (continued)
I lost 22 pounds by replacing sugar and caffiene with yoga and walking. It is truly the mind body connection that heals. This article is excellent.
Excellent and informative article. I'd have never thought of Yoga as a supplement to weight control.
I agree that great teachers can (and do) help physically limited students get the most out of a class. But, asking the author to address all of the benefits of yoga is unfair. This story is about yoga as a weight-loss strategy and is one of the few in Yoga Journal that address that connection. It's nice to read something a little more concrete about the way mainstream (non-yogis) might benefit from yoga, too.
Baron has a free meditation on his website: www.baronbaptiste.com/podcasts
I appreciated that this article did not assume that everyone who is overwieght is there for wieght loss. Someone may be active, focused, and mentally calm but not have the FDA's recommended BMI (body mass index) for their height. I am in the 35% crowd, and I ski, bike, & practice yoga. Occasionally, I get the odd "when are you due", or "you look great, keep up the good work". I am happy, I am solid, open, & loving and as teachers and students it is good to remember that we do not all have the same goals. As, U ramble... I am thinking that just maybe, the physical is not really that important, maybe the spark of divinty in each of us manifests in a different & individual way. Namaste'
Speaking from being an obese student I would put more emphasize on encouraging " students to accept themselves (and their bodies)just the way they are." and not lastly as the article suggests.
An odd concept in doing this as some may ask ,"but what about my weight?".
If a new student learns its not about competing with the next guy on the mat and just concentrates on what their body is doing, how it feels as one moves they will be that far ahead of even an average sized yoga student.
My best instructors were the ones that were able to instruct those with limitations whether it be with a physical limitation due to a surgery, to the person that is obese.
Instruction comes from putting yourself in the shoes (so to speak) of your students.
I could not do a boat pose without assistance. Instructor introduced me to using a strap until I was able to build the proper core.
The list goes on. Use a block for this. Use a blanket for that.
Modified inversions. An obese student doesn't want to sit out a pose, while the rest of the class continues. Don't alienate a student because of their limitations.
But to me THE MOST important thing was listening to my body. As each practice came a new realization of what my body could do, how much it felt better and much stronger I felt. I basically learned to love my body. And in turn Yoga gave me the strength to treat it better outside the practice with what I ate and how I managed my day to day life.
Instructing those that are overweight to seek other means for cardio or for them to get a proper diet is fine . But instead of focusing on what else they need to do, I would emphasis what YOGA can do for them. It can be the key to improving other areas of their lives once they learn to be mindful of their bodies.
The article to me, missed the importance of what Yoga can bring to any size person.