Walking Guide

Discover Self-Love at Any Size With This HeavyWeight Yoga Workout

By , Abby Lentz, Founder of HeavyWeight Yoga
For me, yoga isn't just an exercise, it's a way of life. Forty-six years ago, my mother-in-law gave me the precious gift of a few hours to myself shortly after giving birth to my son. I walked into a YMCA Mother's Day Out program where they offered a yoga class. That class would forever change the course of my life.

Believe it or not, up until I walked into that YMCA, I had never even heard of yoga. After that first class, I fell in love with it and started studying on my own. Without the internet or even a VCR, I had to learn most of my yoga practice from books. After discovering Lilias Folan teaching a class on the local PBS TV station, her program became my "me time" during my son's naps.

Although I practiced yoga regularly, I didn't receive my teaching certification from Kripalu until June 2004. During my certification training, I realized I had been actively adapting yoga to work for my ever-growing and aging body without realizing it and made a commitment then and there to bring yoga to people of all sizes. HeavyWeight Yoga is my way to show the world that every body can be better with yoga.

Yoga Is for Everyone


I hear a lot from people who are overweight that they think they can't do yoga until they lose weight. Let's get this straight once and for all: Everyone needs to realize that the benefits of yoga can be had by anyone, regardless of their size or situation. One of my students who is bed-bound will never be able to come to the floor or be on a yoga mat, but from her bed, she can move her body to gain muscle strength, expand her lung capacity and improve her sense of well-being. All of this helps reduce her intense stress levels. Remember that if you are breathing, your body hasn't given up on you—so don't give up on your body.
 
Fear of injury is another common fear for people who are overweight, and it's a legitimate fear since some beginning yoga poses can be dangerous if you carry excess weight. As with any exercise routine, modifications can be made to accommodate your fitness level, weight and age, so don't be afraid to ask for recommendations from instructors.

People often come into yoga thinking only about the improvements to their physical self: flexibility, core strength, balance and the like. While all of that will happen, it's the sense of well-being that keeps people coming back to their mat for more. While we might think about yoga in terms of being able to touch our toes, it's more important to practice yoga in order to put on our shoes and socks or work through errands and responsibilities with less stress. If you're like most, the benefits of your practice begin as soon as you take your first yoga breath.

While yoga can be a great tool for helping you lose weight, the most important thing yoga does is to remind us that we often try to hate ourselves into getting thin. Lasting change can only come through self-love, though, and yoga highlights the path to loving yourself just as you are in this moment.

The Hardest Part Is Showing Up


My yoga practice is more than 46 years in the making, so the physical benefits of body movement for me at age 70 cannot be discounted. Being able to get on and off the floor with ease to play with my grandkids is priceless. However, if I had to pick one reason to practice yoga, it would be that yoga helps you to be at your best self when times get tough.

Make no mistake—yoga will never change what is happening around you. What yoga does do is change your reaction to that which you have no control over. It's easy to be your best self when life is good; yoga helps you be at your best when everything is going wrong. In time, it will become the invisible net that catches you so you don't hit the ground.

Even the first yoga class can connect people to their body in a way they haven't experienced in years--a lot of people cry. The question I most often get is "How did I get like this?" It's a question with so many answers. All I can do is hold the person and remind them that whatever their "it" is, it didn't happen overnight, and that starting now is what's important. I congratulate them for having already taken the first and hardest step—showing up.

Show up for yourself today with this 35-minute yoga routine that will leave you feeling balanced and at ease with where you are today.


About the Author
Abby Lentz is the creator of HeavyWeight Yoga, which she designed for people who are overweight or obese. She has been practicing yoga for more than 47 years and earned her Kripalu teacher certification in 2004. Her HeavyWeight Yoga DVDs continue to be top sellers on Amazon and she has been featured in leading fitness blogs including Women's HealthMag and BlindAlive. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their standard poodle. 


How does yoga positively influence your life?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Comments

SUSANBEAMON 8/9/2018
I may have to look this up. Report
PATRICIAANN46 8/6/2018
Thank You.............. Report
JANTHEBLONDE 8/4/2018
Great article! Report
NANAW12001 8/4/2018
Thanks. Report
SIMPLY_JAE 8/4/2018
Thank you Report
DMEYER4 8/3/2018
thanks Report
CHERIRIDDELL 8/3/2018
Thank you Report
NASFKAB 7/21/2018
Thank you very helpful & useful Report
CAROLYNINJOY1 7/10/2018
Thank you for sharing an inspiring video that includes an instructor who is 70, active and plus size. Need more articles like this Report
PLATINUM755 7/10/2018
I've been showing up! Report
NANCYPAT1 7/8/2018
Wonderful! Report
MNABOY 7/7/2018
Thanks for sharing Report
BABY_GIRL69 7/7/2018
I did like myself at every size but not in pics...... Report
NANTUCKETLIFE 7/7/2018
I have been wanting to try yoga but have been scared due to my size. Thank you for posting Report
NANTUCKETLIFE 7/7/2018
I have been wanting to try yoga but have been scared due to my size. Thank you for posting Report
JEWELZEE- 7/6/2018
Excellent article! Report
PLCHAPPELL 7/6/2018
Important lesson Report
CHRIS3874 7/5/2018
Good to see someone who isn't thin for a change. I personally feel yoga is incompatible with my faith so no I won't be a practitioner. Report
RAPUNZEL53 7/5/2018
Interesting. Report
BIKE4HEALTH 7/5/2018
I was just getting ready to start Yoga. Great timing and good information Report
KITTYHAWK1949 7/5/2018
thanks for sharing Report
97MONTY 7/5/2018
Thank you Report
KASEYCOFF 7/5/2018
Although there are articles about seniors or people who are overweight, this is the first article I think I've seen on SP that features someone overweight, over 60, and active / involved - and who is in an instructor's role. I intend to check out Abby's videos - and I hope to let her know how inspiring and motivating she is! Well done, SP. Let's see more articles featuring people who are outside the mainstream. :-) Report
PATRICIA-CR 7/5/2018
Love the article, love yoga. It's an amazing contribution to mind and body health. Report
GOCALGAL 7/5/2018
I have practiced yoga for many years now. There are so many health and mental benefits beyond what it does for strength, balance and fitness. It has been invaluable in reaching and maintaining my health and fitness goals. I love this article and believe yoga is for everyone. Report
PICKIE98 7/5/2018
For me, yoga is a great help with my balance issues. Report
AZMOMXTWO 7/5/2018
thank you Report
NEPTUNE1939 7/5/2018
TY Report
TCANNO 7/5/2018
great Report
AMYRCMK 7/5/2018
Thank you Report
USMAWIFE 7/4/2018
thanks Report
MIYAMO 7/4/2018
Interesting. Report
JAMER123 7/3/2018
Great article. I have been interested in yoga for a while and some simple poses but need to work with more. Thanks. Report
AQUAGIRL08 7/3/2018
Awesome! Thank you! Report
THECOZE 7/3/2018
I want to expand to teaching yoga at the gym but every time they have the certification classes, I am already out of town. Report
DEETAGGART 7/3/2018
LauraIsabelle - this was a poor time to be inserting a commercial for your stuff. Report
SHOAPIE 7/3/2018
Thank you. Report
JIACOLO 7/1/2018
I really enjoyed the workout in this video. Report
RHOOK20047 7/1/2018
I am just starting yoga and finding it very interesting. Report
LIS193 7/1/2018
Love my morning yoga! Report
RIANNA15 7/1/2018
Yes, completely agree, yoga is for everyone! I started to practice yoga and meditation 6 months ago and now yoga is my Lifestyle! Even 10 minutes of yoga per day (doesn't matter in the morning or in the evening) gives me strength, flexibility, energy and mind-body awareness. You can find a lot of yoga video exercises on the internet. Last time I am trying to find different interesting and new articles about yoga and meditation and I want to get your opinion about this article (maybe smb knows about it, if yes, please share your experience): www.everydaytips.tilda.ws#rec584797
07
. Report
CHERYLHURT 7/1/2018
Excellent Report
LAURAISABELLE 7/1/2018
Great info Report
ZRIE014 7/1/2018
thanks Report
RHOOK20047 6/30/2018
Good info. Report
DMEYER4 6/30/2018
thank you Report
MOONDRAGON29 6/30/2018
Great article Report
SCOOTERTVRPV 6/30/2018
good info on modifications that can be made Report
KHALIA2 6/30/2018
Great info! Thanks! Report
PAMMYLBEAR 6/30/2018
Yoga has become one of my favorite activities. I like that Abby reminds folks that there is no pain in yoga. Report
Walking Guide