Sunday, 1 April 2012

Yoga for Plus Size Bodies and Joint Problems

yoga with a plus sized body

Yoga is a wonderful form of movement that not only revitalizes you mentally but also works on improving your strength, flexibility and confidence. Yoga can be soft, hard, fast yet slow; do you know what it's like to hold one position for a minute let alone longer? It's tough and yet that is an important part of yoga: discipline.

Now what do you do if you have a plus body where bits get in the way (trust me, I know all about the boob issues) or have joint problems? Although you may have these attributes you are still making a point about looking after your mind and body, possibly through yoga but maybe through other means too. I was reading Amber's blog over at and she had made this wonderful post about modifications for yoga.

'Sun Salutations for Plus Size Bodies' has an inspirational video where Amber talks about using blocks or  if you don't have access to equipment like that it's just about making smaller/different movements to complete a sun salutation. If you have a large bust she also presents an ingenious method of keeping the 'girls' out of the way when you are bending forwards or backwards in some of the positions - it's brilliant!!

Hop on over to her site, watch the video and let me (and Amber) know what you think of it.

Benefits of yoga

So what's the point of doing yoga? Well, there are loads of health and mental benefits that it can give you. Here's a list of just a few improvements you might see after doing yoga for a while:
  • Improve your strength
  • Improve balance
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Mood and well-being gets better
  • Concentration, memory and attention increase/improve
  • Your heart and lungs become more efficient
  • Muscles become more flexible
  • Energy increases
  • Weight normalizes
  • Sleep improves
  • Pain decreases
  • Anxiety and depression decrease
As you can see, they benefits of practicing yoga are amazing and I don't know why everyone doesn't do at least a couple of minutes a day. 

yoga tools

If you can't touch your toes, sit with your legs crossed, scratch your back or kneel the you might find that you struggle with some of the positions. You may also be suffering with an injury, be plus sized or have joint problems so I would recommend looking into some yoga blocks to help you in the positions.

Yoga Mats

Here is a great selection of yoga mats. I have tried most of them at some point and use the companies on a regular basis so I know they are of good quality.

Yoga mat lilac

This is the portable mat that I use at the moment. It has a great grip and has a nice depth to it for when you're on your knees and elbows.

Warrior Yoga Mat- Blue

Warrior yoga mats are a favorite of mine. They grip well and have a good depth for all those bony parts.

York Interlocking Floor Guard

York don't ever leave me! I bought a pack of these to make a square in the middle
of my front room. They make up my little exercise haven, I literally do everything on them. I put my exercise bike on there to reduce noise, I lift weights on there so that if I drop them they won't go through the floor and I do yoga on them to as the are very cushy and have a great grip (just remember to wipe your sweat first).

Yoga Blocks

Since losing muscle and flexibility in my left leg I have needed to use yoga blocks to get to where I need to be and get the full benefit of a pose. They also help me with balance and increasing overall flexibility and endurance.

Yoga Blocks 10 cm x 15 cm x 23 cm 2 piece Saver Pack Large Size 3 Colors by Bean Products - PURPLE
These are great for helping you get into deeper positions. I also use them for balance and endurance work as they are large enough and stable enough to lean on.

EVA Foam Yoga Block - Blue
These little blocks are good for when you are a bit more flexible and can hold more of your own body weight. You can also stack them to create the desired effect of the blocks just above.

Yoga Straps

Another useful addition are yoga straps, not only are they useful for getting into deeper stretches but they are great for getting into difficult balance poses two. Amber (see above) has an unorthodox use for them: straps can be used to keep breasts in place if you are graced with large girls or can't find that perfect sports bra.

Gaiam Yoga Strap 6Ft Natural
A nice thick strap that isn't going to break when you apply a bit of force.

Hugger Mugger Yoga, Cottonne Yoga Strap, Purple, 8 ft.
This one is a bit longer for those who are taller than the average bear (thank you Yogi Bear - see what I did there, Yogi? Yoga? Ha, I'm so funny after my pain meds. I'll stop with the jokes now).

Yoga DVDs

Don't have time to get to class? There are thousands of great yoga DVDs out there. Just be sure to do a bit of research first to find the right style for you.

Total Yoga Collection - 4DVD Box Set [DVD]
Here's a nice four box collection for you.

Basic Yoga Workout For Dummies [DVD]
If you need a bit more information then you can try this DVD. It will show you all of the basic moves so you can start becoming a yoga badass.

Yoga Books

DVDs not your thing? Don't fret, just as there are thousands of DVDs around there are just as many, if not more, books around dedicated to yoga practice. Just remember, if you're not sure about a move get a friend to help you or consider going to a couple of classes to get the basics down.

Yoga Heals Your Back: 10-minute Routines That End Back and Neck Pain
One of the most common reasons for yoga is to ease back pain. Check out these moves to provide relief from your back pain.

Healthy Living: Yoga For You: A Step-by-step Guide to Yoga at Home for Everybody
If you're busy, have kids, a hectic work schedule or just don't have time to get to a class then a book designed to teach you yoga in your own home could be just the thing you need to get yourself into the swing of things.

Brilliant Yoga
Yet another fantastic book that will give you plenty of information on extending your yoga knowledge.  This book focuses on using yoga to take away the daily strains of modern living. If you suffer from aches and pains, stiffness, inflammation, back pain, stress and weight gain then this will be a valuable resource to your healthy living arsenal. Click here to get a copy.

Become a Yoga Instructor

If you've been practicing yoga for a while you might want to consider becoming a yoga instructor to share your knowledge and experience. Click here to find out ways on getting certified.

So there you are, a fair amount of information on yoga. If you think something is missing on the page (like the newest yoga gadget) or if you would like a supplementary page on the different forms of yoga then leave me a message either in the comments of via email and I will get back to you.

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