At Yogi Flight School, we hear from a lot of people who are interested in doing arm balances and inversions. Many times, these people have a reason that they feel prevents them from making these shapes with their body.
One of the reasons that we hear often is that their body is not made for yoga. We hear things like, "My butt is too big," or "I'm too heavy."
I am not afraid of falling on my face, but putting myself in the spotlight is intimidating. I am generally happy to blend into the background and do my own thing. That idea, to just blend in-it feels like being safe but really it is just limiting. It is a way to avoid prioritizing my needs. My heart needs to fly. I know I am made for this. My body holds me up every day, so now I am asking it to occasionally do something it does every day but in a creative and fun way. My body is up to the task. If your heart needs to fly, your body is made for this too.
I started doing yoga six months after having weight loss surgery. At my heaviest, I weighed 355 lbs (161kg). I probably weighed about 275lbs (125kg) when I first started practicing. I remember my first class—I called sun salutations ‘the up/down part’ and thought there was no way I could ever do it for real. But I kept going. Every Saturday. And soon, I built the strength to advance my practice. I really leaned in to online yoga during the pandemic and a friend saw my progress and recommended Yogi Flight School. I always thought crow was something beyond me. I would try but would get up maybe a second or two—and thought that my body just was still too big and not strong enough. But in that first YFS live—I held crow for a good ten seconds. From there, I was hooked. I still have things that in a bigger body and with back issues don’t come as quickly for me. I can’t quite figure out how to kick up in pincha and handstand. But I walk up the wall and practice finding the balance and growing my strength. Adapting my practice to suit my needs. Sometimes when you see how far some people get so quickly—you feel like ‘why can’t I do that yet.’ But then I remember that actually, my journey is my own. It’s not about comparisons. It’s about doing the work and building the belief and strength in myself as I go. And now I’ve actually been a source of inspiration for others in YFS by telling my own story—with or without the ability to do pincha or handstands (yet).
So, some advice for people who don't believe that their "fuller" bodies can make these shapes or that they can do this practice...well, if we're not believing this, why is that? Do we think our big bodies are not beautiful enough? Do we think we're not strong or flexible enough to hold our big bodies in shapes? Are we ashamed of our bigger bodies and worry that we'll be mocked or scorned? Or do we just think that bigger bodies literally cannot access these poses? These have all been my thoughts! My advice is - stop sabotaging success, turn up on the mat, give it a go, do the work, surprise yourself, prove yourself wrong and find the joy and beauty in that. Beauty will be experienced, strength and flexibility will develop, shame will turn into love for your body - and it's amazing!
....plus, fuller bodies offer more padding when face-planting
These bad-ass ninjas inspire us every single day, simply by showing up and being themselves.
You don't need to do anything to achieve these poses other than to show up, do the work, and be yourself - JUST AS YOU ARE!