Bikram says ~ ‘You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.’ I’m going to add ‘Never Too Fat !
OK ~ I’m gonna address it. Someone asked again last night about weight loss and I also saw a post on the controversy over the Victoria Secret advert last night. This has prompted me today to think on this point to cover it just once on here.
The number of people that come in asking ‘can Yoga help with weight loss?’. My standard answers, depending on the intensity of their focus, on this point can be something along the following lines: “You have come to a Yoga class. I am not touting a weight loss programme/we don’t specialise in weight loss./ There are plenty of places people can go besides Yoga if weight loss is their sole focus./Yoga is holistic/Bikram is a general prescription for feeling well and healthy/There are testimonials that state Yoga can help but at YM we do not diagnose, analyse or offer any prediction for the future of the state of your body /ALL bodies are Yoga bodies. Yoga is for ALL to have a go at, it is not exclusive to skinny people./ It will require commitment and work and one of the side effects you may experience is change in appetite. If you make other changes in lifestyle combined with Yoga, weight loss may happen./If I was going to tout anything it would be the head stuff: you will learn to accept yourself and body where it is at and learn to know that this will change and in the meantime you will learn to love yourself and gather confidence and that is priceless.” … Something like that anyway.
I personally have a different vision for the people that walk through our doors. I don’t look at them in terms of their weight, except if brings with it a ‘current’ limitation/condition that may have a bearing on how they should approach their new found practice that I need to address. I say ‘current’ because I harbour the faith that these states can change; change is the nature of things. Your body’s natural state is healthy and Yoga can help it find equilibrium again. We are in the business of transformation after all; we help get the ball rolling. I want all practitioners to hold a higher vision for themselves. I want them to expand mentally and to liberate their higher states of consciousness using their body as a medium. I want you to come in and start LOVING your body and taking care of it. The more you start to LOVE your body the LESS there will be room for everything negative; as those negative thoughts start to diminish you will start to get a better perspective… and then you may start making better choices all round to help with the issues that may arise from carrying a bit too much weight.
AND the fact that 95% of the people that ask aren’t actually fat! And the others might be overweight but not obese. AND unfortunately, the really big boys and girls don’t walk through our door (I wish they would). So many with a hang up maybe because of media projecting a so called ‘ideal body image’. Sadly, regardless of ‘size’, too many women are not at home in their bodies because of media negative influence resulting in poor self image, forcing people to live in their heads, it becomes a prison. I want you to come practice Yoga and get out of your head into your body and change your perception of yourself in a positive, nurturing environment.
The phrase ‘real women’ slightly irks me. It should not be in use. A cross section of any street/room will reveal visually a multitude of shapes/sizes of women and ALL of them are REAL; only in the media are we subjected to a distorted version of what a ‘real’ ‘woman’ is and I fear stereotype images of Yogis leaves some people feeling it is not for them.
Because of this there is no denying the fact that the larger person may be more self conscious on turning up to their first class to commence the Yoga ‘unveiling’. Please come. I want you to come and do this Yoga because I want you to feel good about yourself. You are not your body. You have a body and it needs to be moved. WHY NOT try Yoga?
So. I am not going to tell you that you are going to lose ‘so many calories’ per class; I have seen everything from 600 to 1000 calories mentioned but I have not seen the scientific evidence to support any claim on this front but here is two testimonials (remember testimonials aren’t scientific evidence so it is up to you how you want to take them) (1) http://www.bikramyoga.com/BikramYoga/WeightLoss.php } and (2) here is the testimonial of the guy in the picture http://theyogadiaries.net/tag/obesity/
I have some tips; they are not fancy, just based on common sense.
• If you are nervous about your first class; know that even the skinniest person can be; I would not go to my first class on my own. So come to your first class with a good friend; ask them to do it with you so that you can have a go at walking through that door; after your first class, even if they never come again, it won’t be so daunting for you.
• Start increasing your water intake now, days before you come to class; your body may be crying out for water.
• Come to your first class at least half hour early. The teacher will chat with you, answer any concerns, help settle you in. Message the instructor prior to class if you need encouragement; we are always happy to engage with you; I get fb or email messages all the time and I always respond.
• Make sure your attire is not baggy, you don’t want clothing to cling and get in the way when it gets wet; make sure your arms are bare; the more area of skin you can expose in the hot room the better for your body’s cooling mechanism
• Know that: It will be HOT. You WILL sweat. You will work hard.
• Ideally you will not eat 2/3 hours prior to a class; if you have to then make it a piece of fruit. The class is 90 minutes and in all likelihood you won’t be able to sit down to eat for 30 minutes after class (travel time); that’s potentially 6 hours without food; to keep blood sugar levels from dipping you should be eating approximately every 6 hours. So, I recommend you have a banana in your post-Yoga class bag to have within that important first half hour after class; Make sure that your first meal after your class (be it morning or evening) is ready for you so that you don’t have to make choices of what to eat based on serious hunger pangs which can often prompt the poorer choices.
• Loss of weight immediately after a class due to sweat is NOT sustainable. It is not ‘weight loss’ per se. That water MUST be put back in; so drink plenty of water after class.
• Slight dehydration can often play the trick on you that makes you think you are hungry when in fact your body needs water.
• If you lose fat, bear in mind that your body composition will be changing so as you build muscle you may not have the experience of ‘weight’ loss. By VOLUME muscle weighs more than fat. Fat has a way of parking itself in the worst possible places and taking up too much space! 🙂 ; so as you lose fat you may lose inches where they are not needed but still not appear to be losing weight. You may start to see changes in the way your clothes fit before the scales start to move.
Om Om Om Come as You Are