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5 Reasons Why Yoga for Curvy Folks Rocks
by Anna Guest-Jelley

One thing you should know about me is: I’m curvy.  Yep, probably just how you’re thinking.  I’ve got more to love in the 3 B’s department: boobs, belly and butt.
One other thing you should know: I’m also a yoga student and teacher.  3 B’s and all. 
Being curvy in a yoga class is an interesting experience.  Getting strange looks is pretty typical.  So is being asked if you’re new.  Sometimes people are rude, but most of the time they do something else that’s even more insidious: they just ignore you.  I’ve been practicing yoga for over twelve years, and more often than not teachers just either pretend like I’m not there or don’t offer me modifications if they see I’m struggling.
For years, I internalized this as my problem.  That my body was what was wrong.  That when I lost x amount of weight, I’d finally be able to truly experience the benefits of yoga.  That I couldn’t expect my teacher to know how to help me access the poses in a way that would work for me--or that it was even a possibility.
Over time, though, and after I decided to do a yoga teacher training, I started figuring out that there are safe and accessible ways for me to practice yoga with the body I have today.  No waiting, no agonizing, no shaming.  
Yoga for curvy folks rocks for so many reasons; here are just five:
1. Yoga for Every Body: This is many yogis’ favorite phrase, and making yoga inclusive of curvy bodies can help make it a reality.
2. Strengthening Community: Diversifying who practices yoga not only strengthens the yoga community, it also grows our local communities as people connect through their practice.
3. Body Positivity: Yoga can be supportive of shaping a positive body image for people of all shapes and sizes!
4. More to Learn: When we have many different people in our yoga classes, we can all learn from each other’s unique yet shared experiences. 
5. Beauty: Looking around a room of all kinds of people practicing yoga is a beautiful sight to see!
As yoga continues to grow, there will be more and more opportunities to make it welcoming of a variety of bodies and abilities.  And I think that rocks!


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About the Author

Anna Guest-Jelley is a bit of an anomaly: a curvy woman who practices and teaches yoga.  Despite not dreaming of putting her leg behind her head (without going to the hospital, at least), she learns, practices, and teaches yoga because of its transformative powers in her life.  Through reflecting on her struggles with self-esteem, weight, and body image (at last count, she had tried over 65 different diets), she hopes to open possibilities for curvy individuals and their allies to enter into conversation and action around living joyfully regardless of size.


Anna is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher.  She received her training from Tzahi Moskowitz through YogaWorks.  She is currently pursuing her 500-hour certification with Cora Wen.  In addition, she is in process on certification in Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga from Sadie Nardini and Yoga Anatomy from Leslie Kaminoff.


Anna is also a member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance and the Fat Rights Coalition and is active in the Health at Every Size community. 


You can find Anna, her amazing free vidoes, blog, and her yoga schedule at Cuvy Yoga.




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