I have always been an aficionado of various physical activities. At a young age I began figure skating, and over the years my love of physical activity and sports led me into the discovery of softball, soccer, volleyball, roller skating, and more. I always wanted to try everything at least once to see if I liked it. My competitive nature fit well during these discoveries. As an adult, I discovered my love for a multitude of physical activities, including hiking, biking, running, rock climbing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and of course, yoga.
I joined many a gym over the years, and for one reason or another, I never quite stuck around. Whether it was a matter of time, convenience, expense, or intimidation, I realized that I prefer my activity to be engaging, fun, challenging, and adaptive. Just because I like trying everything once doesn’t mean I’m an expert right away. Being in an environment where I wasn’t afraid to embarrass myself or be judged was difficult to find. Did it stop me? No. Did it hamper me from returning places? Most definitely.
The first time I discovered yoga, I walked into a dimly lit studio – being sure to arrive *just before* the start time to make sure no one would get an eyeful of me in all my stretch pants glory. It was a coed class to boot. But I rolled out my mat, and followed the instructor as best I could with all the brand new terminology that was getting thrown about the room. 10 minutes in, my palms were sweating, i had to readjust constantly because I was slipping, and I felt every curve and bulge on my body digging into themselves.
But you know what else? I realized I could get bendy. More bendy than lots of people in that class, even, who were easily 6 sizes tinier than I was. I also realized that in those weird poses, I held more strength than the men participating in the class. By the time class was over, I still felt intimidated, I still kept adjusting and readjusting my pants – but I also felt empowered. I actually liked yoga and wanted to do more. I didn’t return to that particular yoga studio, but I visited many over the years, as well as practiced on my own at home.
As much as I enjoy physical activities, let’s be real. I also really love food. Pretty much all kinds of it. Always have. So even with my love for being outdoors, running races, climbing mountains, and pushing my limits, I never have been and never will be a tiny person. Which I’m totally fine with. And while I always push myself to get in better shape, I do that because it satisfies my needs. That kind of activity isn’t for everyone, and people should be fine with that too.
Yet I discovered there’s a H-U-G-E percentage of the population, especially women, that have always wanted to try yoga, and one of two things happened:
When I teach classes at FatGirl Yoga, I strive to bring the most comfortable, educating, non-intimidating, and FUN environment I can each and every time. Because no one deserves to be intimidated when pursuing something they enjoy. Yoga is enjoyable for a lot of people. And it’s GOOD for you. You won’t ever feel embarrassed, you don’t ever have to worry about what you’re wearing, or if you’re as bendy as the person next to you. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. And we’re all in this together.