So, I started taking yoga classes a few weeks ago. I found a studio a few blocks away from my dorm, for $5 a class, and figured there was very little that I could really lose out by trying it. I'm currently working at keeping a twice-a-week schedule in the beginner class, and trying to make it enough of a habit that I can potentially find a new studio to keep it up with when I move.
I'd done a little bit of yoga before, but only on the wii fit. Which I have a few issues with, which I haven't quite gotten around to writing about yet but mostly because it's really old news. Wii yoga was kind of awesome in that it gives really accurate and neat biofeedback showing where your center of balance is, and it describes the poses well enough that I felt I was getting pretty good at them. I enjoyed the fact that it's not an intense exercise, but when I'm done using it, I can feel that I've definitely worked.
But, the Wii isn't equipped to give me modifications for the poses I can't do. It can't give me advice, and the encouragement it tried to give was more annoying. So, I thought I'd try a real class.
And it's going well. I'm enjoying it. Primarily, it's the same thing - it's intense, but in a completely different way than any exercise I've done before. And the philosophy incorporated in a real yoga studio is great. There's so much emphasis on respect for the body, on energy and movement and not pushing yourself too far. In some ways, I'm more flexible than I thought I was. And in others, I'm less, but that's okay.
There are a few things that feel like my fat is getting in the way. There are a few poses that I can't quite breathe right because I'm squished a little much. There are lots of things I can't do with my legs, because my thighs are just too big to curl around. I can't put my feet together on the floor and keep my balance, so I have to keep them open. But I don't feel shamed for it at all. The environment in the classes is so supportive, and no one cares even the smallest bit if I'm modifying something for whatever reason.
I was talking to a friend about one of the poses that I'm having the most trouble with, which they call the Corpse Pose in my studio (relaxation pose - lie on your back with your legs stretched out and arms stretched out at your side. Do nothing but breathe). The trouble is...well, my ass is too big. If my knees are bent and my feet on the floor, I can lie my whole spine straight on the ground. But if I stretch my legs outward, my butt curls up under me, and there's a big space under the small of my back that's painful to stay in for any length of time. I'm getting some help from my instructors, whether it's the advice to keep a prop under my knees to keep them up some, or to lie in a fetal position instead, or to sit up and do a different meditative pose.
But I think the biggest thing that's coming into focus is I can really say things like this now. I can just say, "I have too much butt for this position, what can I do instead?" It's still self-conscious, and sometimes embarrassing, but it's a fact. It's not something to be ashamed of, and it's not something that's going away anytime soon. The important part is that I find something else to do, and it doesn't stop me. And the important part is that I'm getting secure enough to just accept it.