Yoga for the Bigger Body + Home Practice

I’ve seen the looks when I mention to people that I practice yoga regularly. I’ve felt the surge of insecurity as I walk into a class by myself. I get it, when you think of “yoga” you don’t think of someone with a bigger body. But, guess what? Yoga is for every body.

Yoga is, quite literally, the only form of movement and exercise that feeds not only my muscles but also my soul. An hour practice is about breathing, listening to your body, and making room to do more. It’s not about pushing, or grunting, or doing the best in the room. Yoga is about finding your edge and getting comfortable there, inhaling to find length, and exhaling to see if you go deeper. Your edge is your business.

Does a bigger body make some poses more difficult? Absolutely.

Part of the yoga experience is to find the modification that fits your body, if you can’t hold yourself in plank, drop your knees – you’re still working your core.

Yoga is about awareness, listening, and honoring as you move. That has nothing to do with the shape or size of my body. Some of my favorite poses are:

Warrior I, Warrior II, Tree, Mountain, Cat/Cows, Balancing TableDownward Dog, Triangle, Spinal Twists with arms in T, Forward Folds, Sun Salutation Series, Goddess, Chair Pose (& with a twist), and Extended Side Angle. Well…and, of course Savasana.

img_2835Typically, my yoga practice happens outside of my home. I take free classes at work as part of a community program, and have a membership at a local studio. I’m spoiled by our free classes at work, our instructor is amazing and very flexible with her classes. When she walks into a room, she takes a scan and can throw together an amazing practice on a whim that works for everyone. Sometimes, when I go to other classes, I find that the set flow doesn’t work for me. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just less predicable. So, I’ve started practicing more at home. Here are some of my tips for creating a successful home practice.

Where Matters. Where you practice at home matters a great deal. You need a space that is relatively quiet, has enough room for you to spread your arms wide + put your legs in the air. If you can, find a spot without carpeting. Yoga poses are significantly harder on a mat that is on top of carpeting.

Create a calming atmosphere. I turn on just enough light to be able to see, put some essential oils in my diffuser, and put on my Hippie Shit + Yoga playlist. If you need to, close yourself off, Bruno and Winnie are notorious for thinking me sitting on the floor is an invitation to play.

Guided or No? Decide if you’ll practice with a video or guide. Sometimes I need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or to push me further. Some days, I just want to feel it out for myself. Yoga with Adrienne is a great resource for people that are looking for something specific. I really enjoyed her Yoga for Sciatica when I was struggle with getting moving again after injuring my back.

Release Expectations. Take a second before you start, close your eyes, and release your expectations. You’re not a yoga superstar, that’s cool. You’re just a human, at home, taking care of your mind, body, and soul. Own it, and just enjoy. If your dogs/kids/husband/neighbor/mother/imaginary friend come bursting in during the middle of warrior I, just smile and keep moving. Life happens.

Warm Up, Yoga, Savasana. Don’t skip your warm up and savasana. Your body needs to build up to your poses and cool down after working hard. Just because you’re at home and it feels weird to be laying on the floor doesn’t mean you skip cooling down, take a minute or two for savasana. Slowly come out of your practice, thank yourself for coming to the mat. Say “namaste” out loud. Be grateful you showed up.

Big, small, curvy, straight, tall, short, love handles, strong…whoever you are, there’s yoga for you. You might just have to create it for yourself.

Namaste, friends.

The love and light in me honors the love and light in you.

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8 Lessons I Learned in 2018

The last 364 days threw a lot of different things, people, emotions, situations, and issues at me. Some great, some initially perceived great, and some… just plain ugly. Looking back on year I realized just how even at the age of 33 there are lessons to be learned.

1. Not everything needs a social media picture or caption. Social media is so consuming that I have started forming habits where whatever I do, I think about how I could caption it if I posted it on Instagram. It isn’t pretty, but it’s reality. I am working toward adopting the philosophy that: “yes, if something happens and it wasn’t posted to social media that it was real.”

2. Money demands responsibility. Not respecting the value and necessity of money is immaturity at its finest. The thought that having spending money for whatever you want and remaining ignorant of the impact it has on your budget, credit, and ability to succeed is irresponsible. Which brings me to…

3. Things + food don’t satisfy emotional needs. Buying crap you don’t need or eating food your body doesn’t need do nothing positive for your emotional stability. Instead it creates an illusion that you can rely on these external things to be happy or content. Instead, imagine how much more satisfied you’d be with a body fueled by healthy foods and regular exercise and a bank account that allows you to pay your bills and go on vacation.

4. Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. About halfway through the year a few of my relationships took an unexpected turn. At the time it bordered on devastating, I was hurt, obsessing about what I had done wrong, and lonely. It took me several months to realize that not all relationships, no matter how crucial they were at one time, are meant to last forever. I created my own version of closure.

5. Negativity is toxic and contagious. Constant negativity is not only toxic to yourself, but also those around you. It sucks the life out of a room and infects everyone around you. Why waste the effort on trying to not be positive? Don’t be a soul sucker.

6. My marriage is worth honoring with time, effort, and energy. Being married for eight years, going through the accelerated lifestyle that Justin and I have had to endure has certainly taken its toll. As our lives became less chaotic it became apparent that we also had to get out of our role of patient and caregiver. Our marriage is a partnership that deserves our time, effort, and energy. Our partnership deserves to be honored.

7. It’s okay to still not know “what I want to do when I grow up”. People are constantly growing, learning new things, and discovering new passions. The 40-year career with the same company is no longer the standard, and that’s okay. Instead of trying to force a single job title, I’m choosing to grow and utilize my gifts in my career.

8. I don’t have to be everything. I want to, oh do I want to be everything. But I can’t. It’s impossible and, quite frankly, exhausting. I don’t have to be everything; I just have to be me.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Me.

I am a self proclaimed “pseudo hippie”. I believe in the universe, light, energy, and other witchy type of things. BUT I am also a logical person that doubts my own hippie ways. It’s a constant push and pull, but there’s no denying that as I sat down to write this post the universe was setting me up for success.

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I was scrolling Instagram stories just to clear my mind and my favorite hippies had a livevideo from last night that popped up – this supplied me with an hour of company as I type, gorgeous crystals to peek at, and good energy.

I pulled an affirmation card from the Louise Hay “How to Love Yourself” card deck that read: “With every breath I take, I’m getting healthier and healthier.” the back says: “My body is a mirror of my inner thoughts and beliefs. I nourish it with good food and healthy exercise.”

That, my friends, is not a coincidence. That is the universe setting up my soul to sit and write. I’m grateful for that opening.

——

While going through my PowerSheets prep work, I kept coming back to, well, me. Which, I know sounds not-so-profound and expected, but it was eye opening for me. It was one of the first times in my life that I made the connection between my health and the functioning of my body with the rest of my life. My health, both mental and physical must come first in order for the rest to come into place. In order for me to work on my home, community, career, creativity, and marriage goals, I MUST work on my mind, body, and soul. The ultimate form of self-care.

The big picture: I am living in a way that prioritizes my physical health and mental wellness.

This matters, because: nothing else matters if my body cannot function properly.

Some Action Steps: Maintain gluten-free lifestyle, read “Womancode” by Alisa Vitti to better understand hormones, moving daily, daily water intake tracking, meditation, yoga, social media detoxing, journaling, rest, grocery shopping, meal prepping, trying new exercise routines and classes, daily reflection, vitamins, regular check-ins with my primary care physicians.

When prompted to think about what success will look like after a year of focusing on this aspect of my life, I wasn’t thinking about how, inevitably, I will physically LOOK different. I keep thinking about how I will feel different, lighter in a sense that I will no longer be carrying around the metaphorical weight that being unhealthy places on you. The mental burden of living that life is heavy, and that weight is harder to live with than the physical one.

I look forward to that clarity that will come with physical and mental health.

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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