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Topic: Yoga question

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Subject: Yoga question
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 1,039
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Some people in the forums have mentioned that they do Yoga.  I'm just curious.

Why do you do Yoga?  What does it do for you?  How has it improved your life?

The reason I'm asking is because I'm thinking of taking it up again.  I did some in high school, and I do remember feeling good (and sore!) afterwards.  Problem is, I'm a big gal now, so wondering how easy it would be for me.

Any suggestions on books, etc.?  More specifically, any Yoga books that would be geared towards the larger person?

Thanks in advance.

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2005
Posts: 2,030
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Hmmm. I'd recommend "Yoga for Wimps: Poses for the Flexibily Impaired" by Miriam Austin. A big, skinny picture book with lots of real people in the photographs, unlike the synchronized beauties on FitTV.

I also liked very much a little book called "A Morning Cup of Yoga." So much that I ordered a second & gave it to a friend asking the same question as you.

I do yoga because I'm tense & harried a lot of the time, and I lose touch with my body. I'm trying to find some calmness & to remember what my toes & knees & small of my back feel like. The other exercise I do is jogging & the elliptical, which is far more intense & driven. I need a quieter, easier-going & introspective alternative.

I've only been practicing since October, so it's hard to say what it's doing for me. I believe I am more flexible, and I definitely have better balance, though this turns out to do the hardest part of yoga for me (as it is in life, in a larger sense). I can say I like being in a room with a lot of other women, of all sizes & shapes & ages, who are also in need of the meditation session & who want to improve themselves. There's a nice, quiet fellowship going on there in the room. I feel I can fail utterly in a pose there & it will still be okay, because I'll be a little better at it the next time.

Sore? Yeah, but in a good way. Last night we did a stretch for the sciatic nerve that I am still feeling today.

This is just my experience & I am a real novice, so look for other comments as well.


Date Posted: 5/10/2008 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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I just came back from my morning yoga class and feel so much better.  It's a great form of exercise when it's done to your limitations.  If you're just starting out it's no different than if you've been doing it for years.  I never push myself to go too hard.  I go where my body wants to and it's different with each class.  It's like a cleansing of your body and mind as well as an energetic work out.

For now though, I wouldn't question or worry about what you can and cannot do because of your size or exprience.  I would try to find a beginner class, if possible, (even though you've done it before) and if that's not possible, then a beginner or gentle yoga DVD.   Do it once a week and you will look forward to it.

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,077
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I love it because all the  tapes I have emphasize in their own way, Yoga is not a competition.  They emphasize to go to your honest limit, but don't strain.  I love it because it is the only exercise other than walking that I've ever stuck to, just for those very reasons.  It is sometimes hard to not over-extend, but all that ever accomplished with me is to make me quit something.  Yoga should NOT hurt. 

I am hardly a skinny-minny.  Very hardly.  I am also --even after some years at this-- not flexible.  A chiropractor  told me I have the tightest hamstrings and quads he's ever seen, esp. for someone who at the time, was a daily-faithful with the yoga.  And while I like to say I can't do things because my belly gets in the way, I have seen women maybe 100 pounds heavier than I, who can do a forward bend with palms flat on the ground and head touching their knees.  After years, I can't do that.  I probably never will.  I now have arthritis mostly in my hips and hands, and many poses hurt like hell, until I allowed myself to finally use props, to adjust to my limitations.  That is what is so wonderful about yoga.  You can do it and benefit from a wheelchair!

Mostly, I just so love the way I feel after practicing.

My absolute favorite is Ali MacGraw/ Erich Schiffman's Yoga, Mind, Body.  One of my first, and still doing it.  But, I learned on Sarah Ivanhoe's Yoga for Dummie's tapes.  They are so worth it.  I enjoy Rainbeau Mars, too.


ETA: Beverly, I just noticed you asked for book rec's.  I'm sorry, the few I've checked out were kind of tough.  But if you are a member of swapadvd, you can get yoga dvds there.  Yoga Zones are really good for instruction, especially for beginners.  Lots of various poses are covered.  They are short.  Only thing wrong with them is the instructors never shut up.  Then again, I don't think they are supposed to.

I have a lot of them, and if you are interested in titles, post back or pm me.  Really, check out the other swap. 

Last Edited on: 5/21/08 7:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/14/2008 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 3,365
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I did yoga for years and loved it. Then my instructor moved and the new one was a little too hyper for me and I quit for awhile. What I enjoyed about it was the relaxing and noncompetitive nature of it. It also seemed to help my back feel better. I have a video but it's alot harder to get motivated for than for class...

Date Posted: 5/21/2008 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 107
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I have done Yoga and Pilates off and on over the last few years.  I really enjoy both because you can feel the workout without all the pressure of competition.  I'm also a little large in the chest area so running and jumping looks like something out of those horrible teen spoof comedies!  I really prefer during pilates on a stabilizer ball.  I injured my lower back about 13 yrs ago so both practices have helped me cut down on my visits to the chiropractor.  Plus after you get use to the moves the time you are exercising is almost like meditation if using the right music.  I wanted to try Budokon but no one offers it in my area.

Last Edited on: 5/21/08 10:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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I have been practicing yoga seriously (daily whenever possible) for over three years now.  It is a passion of mine!  I'm a workout buff (I do a lot of weighlifting and cardio), and initially I started doing yoga for the stretching aspects and to maintain my flexiblity.   (At age 41 I can still do the splits!)  Then I learned of all the other health benefits - improved circulation, stimulation of the glandular/lymph systems, assistance with moving vital "chi" energy, skeletal alingment, spinal stimulation/flexibililty (we are as young as our spines), the quieting of the mind, the relaxation to the body, the release of stress/tension.  Certain types of yoga can also offer a muscle strengthening benefits and to some extent, some cardio benefit (thing rigorous ashtanga yoga or power yoga). 

Once I realized these things and felt the benefits for myself, yoga also became much more for me than a great way to stretch.  I was hooked!  As my yoga practice developed it lead me to meditation, which is, after all the ultimate goal of yoga and what yoga truly is.  Thanks to my yoga, I now have a very nice meditation habit going and it has really deepened my spirituality - which I won't go into here!  LOL! 

I highly recommend getting started by taking a live class with a quality instructor.  Proper alignment is crucial in yoga.  Yes, you can injure yourself doing it.  Many studios offer beginner classes, and I know of a studio in Minneapolis that offers a class geared toward bigger women, which I think is a wonderful idea!  No matter what your size, you CAN do yoga!  I encourage you to give it a try!  There are also a variety of styles of yoga.  The staff at a good studio can help you pick a class you will enjoy.  I practice a lot of styles depending on my mood - gentle hatha ("hatha" is a catch-all term - it essentially means yoga that involves physical movement/positions which are called asanas), power, ashtanga, vinyasa and kundalini all get time from me!

There are also a ton of yoga books and DVDs.  I primarily practice with video or audio, although I do take live classes from time to time.  I enjoy practicing in solitude although sometimes DH and I practice together.

Good luck to you!


Date Posted: 6/6/2008 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 1,039
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Update:  I ordered the "Morning Cup Of Yoga" book.  I haven't started it yet. Thanks to the person who recommended it...I'm going to start it next week, will let you know how it works out.

I've been having some extreme bouts of fatigue, hoping the yoga might help energize me a bit.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2007
Posts: 4
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I absolutely love yoga and I aggree it is awesome when done to your own physical limits. I have had great experience with yoga. It has decreased my low back pain, eliminated my joint pain, incressed my fexibility, and improved my overall well being. I've never been to a class and I don't even do it on a regular schedule. I found a book that seemed appropriate for me and do the poses that are comfortable for me. If you do it within your limits you will see results.