Yin for size +

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matimessager
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Yin for size +

Post by matimessager »

Hi Bernie,
I have a new student which is a large person and who would like to start practising Yin. Because of all the forward bends, I'n not too sure if it's a good idea or what would work best. What would you recommend?
Thanks!
Mati
Bernie
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Yin Yoga for +Sized Students

Post by Bernie »

Hi Mati

This topic has been raised before:you may find this earlier post of interest. I also know of a Yin Yoga teacher who specializes in +Sized bodies, so the short answer to your question is - yes! Any body can benefit from a Yin Yoga practice, however, how they practice will naturally be dictated by their body.

I will ask the teacher (her web site is called The Fat Yogini) I mentioned above to see if she would join this conversation and give you some direct examples that you can use.

Cheers
Bernie
fatyogini
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Post by fatyogini »

Hi Mati,

What is your concern about forward bends for a larger-bodied person?

Forward bends are not contraindicated for a larger body any more than they would be for a more slender body.

If your client has lower back concerns, such as bulging or herniated discs, that is of course a different story.

If your concern is your client meeting flesh on flesh compression (belly to thighs, thigh to thigh etc), then there are several things to consider when guiding Yin poses and offering modifications/alternatives.

Opening the legs makes space for belly, so in caterpillar (for example), allow your client to have her legs more parted.

Crossing or intertwining body parts is a challenge with larger thighs/calves so shoelace is extremely difficult to do - offer Square/1/2 Square as alternatives because the open space is way more attainable (and also allows for belly space. Gentler versions of 1/2 square is right ankle on left shin/top of ankle instead of left thigh OR even bringing the foot inside the leg (as in Janu Sirsasana). Tangled Roots reclining twist is problematic for the same reason, but you can take a supine swan type pose (lying on back, ankle over knee) and have them scoot their hips to the opposite side and then take that pose into a twist.

Supine Swan makes a great alternative to traditional Swan IF your client has trouble with traditional swan (some of my clients love the traditional version).

In poses where a client is lying on their back, often with legs extended they feel too deep of a lower back arch - this is often the case if one has a rounder/fuller bum which lifts them higher off the floor. Options are to put a bolster behind the knees, inviting them to lift hips and gently draw tailbone down OR offer that they can do that supine pose lying on the back with bent knees, feet flat.

I encourage my clients to lift the belly when folding forward to allow for a deeper bend.

Sometimes it's helpful in forward bends to take a bolster to top of thighs and drape arms over it and then fold forward if the client wants to be up higher but still supported in a fwd bend, or turn the bolster lengthwise, brace one end into mat or legs/feet and rest forehead on the other end.

In general, there is no reason a person's larger body should in any way prevent them from practicing Yin yoga unless they have an actual condition that is contraindicated (which is the same criteria we'd use for smaller-bodied students).

For what it's worth, Yin is very popular among my larger bodied students. The trick is to look for ways to make the poses/shapes work for each student's individual body.

I do offer workshops and trainings for teachers on modifying hatha, yin, and restorative yoga practices to larger bodied students or those with limited mobility or flexibility.

Warmly,
Lisa

www.bodypositivityyoga.com
www.fatyogini.com
https://www.facebook.com/bodypositivityyoga
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"Beauty comes in all sizes. So does confidence. Love your body." ~From The Body Positivity Yoga Manifesto
tonyab67
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Thank You!

Post by tonyab67 »

I am a plus size person who LOVES Yin yoga. I found it on my Gaiam tv roku channel. I have been struggling with modifying some of the poses for my body (like shoelace and eagle arms). I am grateful to see this post. I went directly to fatyogini.com. Awesome!
Renee
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Post by Renee »

Does an obese body, in general, have more instability in the joints due to the weight the body has to carry along and if so is there a risk factor doing yinyoga for these joints?
I would like to know to help:)
Thank you!
Bernie
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Post by Bernie »

You asked "Does an obese body, in general, have more instability in the joints" ... my response would be, it doesn't matter what "in general" the answer is, what is important is what is the situation/condition of this student in front of you right now. Even if I said that, on average, obese people have more arthritis in their knees than normal weight people, what would you do with that information. Better is to check in with this person in your class and ask how they are doing, how are their joints, has their doctor suggested anything specific to do or avoid?

Even arthritic joints need some stress, and yin yoga may be good for them, but they can easily go too far with the postures. Each student has to learn how to really attend to her sensations and learn what is too much and what is not enough. It is not easy but it is valuable.

Cheers
Bernie
Renee
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Post by Renee »

Thanks Bernie:)

Some just can not make the attunement with their body that is why I was wondering about obese in general. but you are right, everybody is unique.
Thanks anyway!
toaster
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Post by toaster »

fatyogini wrote: In poses where a client is lying on their back, often with legs extended they feel too deep of a lower back arch - this is often the case if one has a rounder/fuller bum which lifts them higher off the floor. Options are to put a bolster behind the knees, inviting them to lift hips and gently draw tailbone down OR offer that they can do that supine pose lying on the back with bent knees, feet flat.
Lisa, thank you so much for this! I am not a larger-bodied person overall, BUT I definitely am larger in the "bum" area, and I have this EXACT issue! I definitely can feel a very deep low back arch (I have a bit of lordosis standing as well) causing a strain in my low back. Not to hijack the thread, but I'd be very interested in any other recommendations you have for this as well.

I also appreciate your overall post. I want to make sure I am accommodating of all persons in my classes and to help offer modifications that work for every individual body.
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