Four Reasons This Plus-sized Introvert Loves Home Yoga
Yoga can be a very social exercise and that gets on my nerves.
Years ago, on my way to work, I would walk past two yoga studios. Down the street was a Starbucks. Groups of sized two blond-haired yoga girls would be huddled outside, café grande in hand, jelly bean colored mats strapped to their backs. There was also a yoga studio on the floor above my job. The elevator would be always be filled with extremely skinny people on their way to their morning session chatting about Gwyneth Paltrow.
I’m an introvert and there was nothing about group yoga that appealed to me. Growing up in Philadelphia had made me obsessive about food. Each ethnic neighborhood offered a new discovery to delight my palate. We’d surpassed New York City on our foodie level. Philly people loved to eat and we’d unapologetically brag about having the fattest police force in the United States. So these yoga people who looked like they subsisted on low-fat yogurt gave me anxiety.
Years later when I saw pictures of Jessamyn Stanley, the plus-sized yogi, I decided to try yoga. I took private lessons from an African med student and absolutely loved it. It was out of budget though. I knew that at some point finances would demand that I transition to a full-on studio, but I’d cross that bridge later. For now, my focus was to get my asanas on point. I figured I’d cross that bridge when I got to it.
Now COVID-19 has prolonged the option of group classes and I admit, I’m not upset. Don’t cry for me Argentina.
Here’s why I’m a fan of yoga now –
It Helps Me Stay In Touch With How My Body Feels
I’m a retail training consultant and curator for an e-commerce site. That demands a lot of time spent in front of my computer. It’s nothing for me to start my day at 5 am and literally stay online until 10 pm. Even when I go to bed my mind is still working. It’s unhealthy but also a bit creepy.
After I started doing yoga, I found myself more aware of how my body feels. If I’ve been sitting for too long, I notice a tightness in my hips and knees that I used to ignore before. This has helped me learn to get up and stretch, take a walk, or do something to counter shapes I’ve been holding.
It’s also helped me get more in touch with my hydration. I hate to stop working to go to the bathroom but now I find myself drinking more water and I’m more in touch with the headaches that come from dehydration and eye strain.
It Helps Me to Calm My Mind
Part of being an introvert means that we spend a lot of time in our own head. Our inner world is extremely active and our brains are always working overtime. Many of us are hyper-sensitive. Add that to the time spent thinking, imagining, and often stressing and worrying.
I’ve found that focusing on the movements of yoga can go a long way in calming my mind. I start and end my sessions with meditation focusing on the positive intention of quieting my thoughts.
Before I get out of bed each morning, I give thanks for another day. I journal and attend to my vision board. I also take meditation breaks now throughout the day which brings peace to my hyper-active thoughts.
I Don’t Have to Be An Expert
Part of an introvert’s personality is to easily feel a pressure to get things “right” or to do things “perfectly.” But with yoga, the only “right” way to do it is in any way that helps you feel good. I watch Jessamyn and other yogis to check my form. I use balancing blocks (which I love) and often do a warm-up with resistance bands.
I’ll push myself but not to the point of pain and I see slow but sure progress. And I feel better after each session.
I Can Do It At Home
COVID-19 has made it virtually impossible to go to a yoga studio or gym. It’s totally removed any guilt an introvert could feel about exercising from home. I can do it whenever I want, as often as I like which is the perfect situation. I can throw on a t-shirt and don’t have to worry about wearing the latest yoga attire. I can select my own lighting, music, and decorate my space exactly how I like with no judgment. Also because there’s no need to schlep my mat around I have one that’s thicker and cushier. I have a crystal bottle that I like to use; it’s very zen. It would be impossible to carry if I were taking classes outside of the home.
Youtube has a wide range of yoga for out of shape and yoga for beginners.
Here are some yogis that I love and follow;
https://youtu.be/VdIX8auOH_M Jessamyn Stanley 8 minute Yoga for Self Love
https://youtu.be/Myd8Oj2rP60 Makeba How to do Yoga for beginners | #BlackGirlMagic Edition
https://youtu.be/4vTJHUDB5ak Yogiinmemelbourne Yoga for neck, shoulders and upper back