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?

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REDROBIN47 11/5/2020
Nice article. Thank you. Report
NEPTUNE1939 11/5/2020
ty Report
AZMOMXTWO 11/5/2020
thank you Report
ETHELMERZ 11/5/2020
Some of these moves, many of us have been doing on our own at home, but did not know it was yoga! Report
JANIEWWJD 11/5/2020
This article was really good!!! Report
CECELW 10/9/2020
self love at any size! love it! Report
IOWAGRAMMA 10/4/2020
I finally feel like I could actually do Yoga that works for me! Thank you. Report
RDHDINWV 10/4/2020
I discovered yoga 30 years ago & have found different types of yoga & classes that are right for me as I age. I do yoga twice a week .... my back, neck, & shoulders let me know if I miss yoga classes. It also feeds my soul & helps free my mind of everyday stresses. Report
KLBAUSSIE 10/4/2020
I have never done yoga, but have always felt an interest. So, I ordered one of her DVD's. I ordered the heavy weight one, not because I am extremely overweight (about 10 lbs), but because I'm 76 and suffer with arthritis. I think the one for over weight people will be better for me to get started. Report
JILLIAN0216 10/4/2020
I love yoga. I wish I could find another fabulous instructor in my area. Report
RCLYKE 7/17/2020
Great info Report
XETAPHIED 7/16/2020
Thank you for the inspirational msg. I gave up on yoga a long time ago. Your post makes me want to try again. Report
JWINKSLLC 4/30/2020
I have been practicing yoga for 23 years, sometimes at a heavier weight, sometimes when I was very fit. It ALWAYS helps, no matter what else is going on in my life. Great article!! Report
WEEZERLOU 4/25/2020
Thank you Abby !!! Gives me hope for Yoga and for !!! Report
LEANJEAN6 2/14/2020
interesting article Report
LIS193 1/12/2020
Thanks Report
thanks. Report
Thank you! I have been hoping to find something like this! Report
Yoga IS for EVERY body! It also nutures your spirit and furthers a mind/body connection! Report
Thank you for this! Report
Thanks so much for sharing such a positive and useful video! Report
I may have to look this up. Report
Thank You.............. Report
Great article! Report
Thanks. Report
Thank you Report
thanks Report
Thank you Report
Thank you very helpful & useful Report
Thank you for sharing an inspiring video that includes an instructor who is 70, active and plus size. Need more articles like this Report
I've been showing up! Report
Wonderful! Report
Thanks for sharing Report
I did like myself at every size but not in pics...... Report
I have been wanting to try yoga but have been scared due to my size. Thank you for posting Report
I have been wanting to try yoga but have been scared due to my size. Thank you for posting Report
Excellent article! Report
Important lesson Report
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
Interesting. Report
I was just getting ready to start Yoga. Great timing and good information Report
thanks for sharing Report
Thank you Report
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
Love the article, love yoga. It's an amazing contribution to mind and body health. Report
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
For me, yoga is a great help with my balance issues. Report
thank you Report
great Report