Big Yoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies

May 13, 2010 11:37:52 AM PDT
Yoga is not just for skinny people. That's the message Meera Patricia Kerr wants everyone to hear.

When she first started take yoga classes 30 years ago, Meera says she was always the most "well-rounded" person in the room. The benefits she got from yoga out-weighed any embarrassment Meera felt about being "beefy and athletic." But that is not the case for many plus-size people. "Larger people see the traditional yoga models who are very thin, flexible, and who are photographed doing extreme poses, and are turned off, thinking they could never do yoga," she says. "My mission is to bring the healthy practices of yoga to this underserved population."

A native of suburban Glen Ellyn, Meera has written a new book Big Yoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies. It is the companion book to the first two DVDs in a series she has planned; they are Big Yoga Beginners Hatha One and Big Yoga Flex-Ability. In her book Big Yoga (featuring a Foreword by bestselling health author Dean Ornish, MD), Meera shares her successful plan with all those who think yoga is not for them. Big Yoga begins with a clear explanation of what yoga is, what benefits it offers, and how it can fit into anyone's life. She also includes a discussion of self-image. The book goes on to provide practical information regarding clothing, mats, and suitable environments, and to emphasize the need to begin your yoga practice with care. Meera shows over forty different postures designed to work with bigger bodies. In each case, she explains the benefit of the posture and offers step-by-step instructions. Easy-to-follow photographs accompany every exercise.

"For years, I have struggled with my weight. I know the disheartening effects of being overweight, and of the constant battle for self-esteem and self-acceptance," Patricia says. "As I moved into the 'menopause years,' I began to lose the battle with my weight, and began to adapt my yoga practice to accommodate my rounder body. I believe the wisdom gained from my own experience can benefit thousands of overweight people who have similar issues."

Meera says these are questions she often hears from plus-size people:

  • Can yoga help me lose weight? Yes and no. It depends on what style.
  • Do I have to be flexible to do yoga? No.
  • I have high blood pressure. Can I do yoga? Yes, if it is managed with medication. Also, yoga helps to lower blood pressure, cholesterol stress hormones and anxiety.
  • What are some other things a large person should know about doing yoga? Certain poses can help reduce belly fat. As a mindful practice, it helps to create a feeling of better self-acceptance, and less negative self-talk about the body. Yoga also helps with impulse control, and can be a boost to better eating habits.
  • Big Yoga is available at local bookstores. For more information, visit www.bigyogaonline.com

    ABOUT MEERA PATRICIA KERR

    Meera Patricia Kerr received her B.A. in Humanities from Eureka College in 1965. She had dabbled in yoga for years, but after finding a book about yoga in the college library, she sought out a teacher and began studying in earnest in 1973 at the Integral Yoga center in Danbury, Connecticut. She's continued to study and teach yoga for over 30 years, and is certified to teach Integral Yoga Hatha 1, Cardiac Yoga, Extra Gentle Yoga, Raja Yoga, Transformational Meditation, and Big Yoga.

    "I spent many years living in the rich spiritual environment of the Yogaville Ashram in central Virginia under the close guidance of my teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda, the Indian yoga master famous for opening Woodstock by chanting peace chants with the hippies, whom he loved dearly.," she says.

    Meera lives along the lakeshore in southwestern Michigan, where she continues to study and teach yoga

    LEARN MORE ABOUT BIG YOGA

    Friday from 11 to 12:30 pm The Yoga Place Glen Ellyn
    630-534-6463
    theyogaplacege.com

    Saturday from 1 to 3 pm
    Vive La Femme
    2048 N. Damen, Chicago
    For more information, visit bigyogaonline.com


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