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Old 10-01-2005, 11:21 PM   #1
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Question Yoga?

Have any of you tried Yoga? I am asking this here because we are all in the same sort of boat with having extra baggage. I am very overweight(as most of you know already) and I was just wondering if Yoga is hard to do when you are very overweight?

Also what is the best beginner type of video/dvd to get for someone whom has never ever done Yoga?
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Old 10-01-2005, 11:35 PM   #2
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I do yoga a few times a month I started yoga when I was 289 lbs and while some of the postures were (and are!) a challenge, you can modify the posses according to your strength and flexibility. One of the nice things about yoga, it is hard for it to get boring when each session brings the challenge of improving your postures and reaching further into them.
I really like "YOGA for Absolute Beginners" by Yogi Marlon. I found it at Wal-Mart for $5 (U.S.) but it is also available from askyogimarlon.com for about $12 (U.S.)
Hope this helps!
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Old 10-02-2005, 12:07 PM   #3
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I love yoga but yes, it's hard because of the extra baggage but still worth it. Although I don't recommend it as a subsititute for cardio, it's great for calming the mind and giving yourself a "body awareness" which I think is vital in the struggle to lose weight.

I highly recommend a class when beginning. Although videos are great, learning the poses correctly can be a challenge if you don't have someone looking out for you. Once you know what the correct pose feels like, it's much easier to do at home.
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Old 10-02-2005, 01:15 PM   #4
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GJ, what a lovely photo!! You always sound like you're such a hoot, and your photo really shows your fun-loving spirit.

I just started yoga about a month ago on the advice of my physical therapist and neurologist. I didn't like it to start with, but after discussing my thoughts/fears with the instructor, I found that I really started to look forward to going to class. While I still have trouble with some of the poses (downward dog defeats me for some reason), I enjoy the calming, relaxing mind-body connection. The stretches are absolutely wonderful, and I feel really good after the class. So my advice is despite your weight, give it a try. I also suggest the class thing first for the same reason GJ mentions.

Have fun!
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Old 10-02-2005, 03:51 PM   #5
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Yes, anyone can do some form of yoga regardless of size, flexibility, etc. It's about working with what you've got and paying attention to what's going on in your body more than it is about being able to reach a certain distance, fold up in a certain way, etc. It's challenging, yes, but for me that just gives me incentive to keep trying. And, as others have mentioned, its about much more than just the stretching, balance, etc. More than anything else I've done, it really strengthens your mind-body connection, and can clear your mind better than anything else. After a while, if you pay attention and stay mindful, you can tune into that clarity and calmness without being in class. You can also, of course, make use of certain poses during the day for a quick break, and you'll be amazed at how refreshed it can make you.

I also recommend a class when you're first starting; there are all kinds of different flavors of yoga, some more vigorous than others. You may have to shop around until you find a style, teacher, pace, etc. that suit you. (My favorite style, and one I think is especially suited to those of us who are out of shape, is Anusara, but it's not a terribly common style.) If you look into classes at general-exercise type gyms, I would find out what qualifications the teacher has; a lot of "yoga teachers" in gyms are aerobics instructors who don't really LIVE yoga. You want to take classes from a real yogi.

If you still decide to go the video route, I'd suggest the Yoga for Weight Loss DVD from Gaiam -- www.gaiam.com. It's not for weight loss in the calorie-burning sense, but in the sense that the instructor understands that a lot of overweight people have lost the connection between their minds and bodies, and that, of course, some posses are more difficult for us. You'll also want some props; Gaiam also sells a kit that comes with a video that shows you how to modify poses with the props to make them more accessable to you.

Another thing you might think of doing, at least to start, is to pick up a couple of books by Miriam Austin -- Yoga for Wimps and Cool Yoga Tricks. Wimps demonstrates sort of a pre-yoga poses. The approach the shape of some classic poses, but heavily propped and modified for people who think even a beginning yoga class might be difficult. The second book is for people who are taking a class or using videos, but would like some deeper explanations about some standard poses as well as modifications and variations.
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:11 PM   #6
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I second Yoga for Weight Loss with Suzanne Deason. What is really nice is that there are 4 people doing the poses, one for each level of fitness. You get ot actually see the modifications!
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Old 10-03-2005, 08:24 AM   #7
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I also have been doing Yoga now for a few months. My physical therapist suggested it because my muscules were so tight and I wanted to work on my flexibility to prevent further injuries. I would recommend a beginner class or workshop, I'm not sure where you are living, in NYC there are alot of different studios that have different types of classes. Definately a class though, so you can talk to the teacher about going slowly.

Is it difficult with extra baggage? Yes, there are some poses that take getting used to, especially when you know you can't do something because your stomach is in the way, but I found that to be minimum and the other parts are so beneficial, I was hooked immediatly!

Have fun!
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:10 PM   #8
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Shelia - Thanks for the note about the photo! Downward facing dog has always been a challenge for me. I talked to a male instructor about it and he said that women have weaker shoulder muscles to begin with, so that's why it's so challenging. I added some strength training exercises to improve my shoulders and it made a difference.
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:14 PM   #9
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I second the book Yoga for Wimps. WHen I was attending a gym a couple years ago and tried a yoga class, I ended up almost in tears because of the pain. So many of the positions were on the knees... and I'm just too heavy to hold my weight on my knees for long, even with a yoga pad. I was sore for almost four days afterward, and never attended another class. If you take a class, be SURE to talk with the instructor. Many have no idea how the physical limitations of the morbidly obese body, from the belly getting in the way to the problem of too much weight on the knees. It just wouldn't occur to someone who's never faced it before.

It wasn't until I got Yoga for Wimps that I felt like I could try it again. That, with videos Am/PM YOga and YOga for Dummies, allowed me to overcome the fear of pain and include it in my exercise routine again.
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