The Big Asana: Yoga for Living Large!
“There’s ‘THE LOOK’ you get when you are a certain size,” says Yoga on High teacher Joyce Eubanks. “It’s a judgment that is always being made about you and has yet it has nothing to do with who you are.”
For those who have received “the Look” and felt they couldn’t fit into a regular yoga class, Yoga On High now offers a class called Big Asana.
“This is a class for anyone who has ever thought ‘I am too big to do yoga,'” says Angie Hay, teacher training coordinator at Yoga On High.
Hay and Eubanks have not only designed a yoga program tailored for larger bodies, they have also created a yoga class as Hay says, “to be a place where we are accepted, a safe container for us.”
“This is where we can learn to love ourselves,” adds Eubanks.
After a Big Asana class, students agreed with their mentors, saying, “I have wanted to do yoga for years. This is THE CLASS that has gotten me to do it.” “For the first time, I feel like I’ve done yoga, and I feel great.” “They meet me where I am at – They don’t try to push me to be what I am not.”
Jasmine Astrelle Grace, co-owner of Yoga On High, noted, “We want to be a studio for everybody” [and dropping barriers] “is part of our mission. We are thrilled to offer this class.”
Eubanks teaches Big Asana as well as Non-Scary Gentle Yoga, “As a yoga teacher, I have seen larger students enter a class, look around, and feel very uncomfortable,” she says. “People think that to do yoga you have to be a size 2 and wrap your legs around your back, but anybody can do – and can benefit from – yoga.”
“We are moving and stretching and loving our bodies and that is a wonderful thing.” says Eubanks.
To be fair, several yoga teachers around Columbus said they like to see a variety of sizes in their classes, too. Heather Sheets said that she opened OHiYoga in Olde Town because of her firm belief that.
“Yoga is for everybody and EVERY BODY!” she says. Sheets not only encourages students of all sizes to try classes there but employs some teachers who are “outside the box” that most people think a yoga body should fit into. In the classes I have taken at OHiYoga, Sheets and Lori Fannin welcomed all students and inspired everyone to work hard but relax, too.
Angie O’Brien of Harbor Yoga in Dublin also warmly welcomes hefty women into her challenging Rocket Yoga classes.
“Yoga can be for everyone!” O’Brien says. “Even though our classes are challenging, our instructors make it a point to give personal attention by offering modifications and adjustments throughout class. In the end, we want more people doing and loving yoga!”
On the other hand, several students at The Big Asana at Yoga On High said that they really appreciated a class just for them. One student said that, “There is a difference between being in a class and having a teacher suggest a modification and just having her do it. These teachers know what it is like to move the breasts and belly out of the way before bending over!”
Another student, noted, “I would go to other yoga classes and people would look at me like ‘what are you doing here?’ but in this class I am accepted.”
Eubanks, who has taught yoga for eight years, commented, “I have been in this body getting “The Look” since I was a kid. I wanted to make a safe place for us plus-sized people to move around and be ourselves.”
Hay concurs, “This a place where larger people are allowed!”
The Big Asana at Yoga on High is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who has felt body size to be a barrier to a yoga practice. If this speaks to you, visit Yoga on High and check it out!
Photos courtesy Angie Hay, Yoga on High.
The Big Asana is taught at Yoga on High, 1081 North High Street, Tuesday evenings 7:30-9pm.