Many overweight people do not know if they can practice yoga. Why yoga is just for people with more body: A conversation with yoga teacher Tina Sunita Huber.
Ms. Huber, you teach yoga for people with more body, as you say. How did you come to this?
Tina Sunita Huber: I live in the countryside, my yoga groups have always been very mixed: young, old, thin, fat – everything possible. Often, I got calls with demands like, “I’m a little more rounded, can I still do yoga?” My answer was always: “I think we should get to know each other.”
I even considered overweight with a rich dress size 46. I have found that heavy people are often self-isolated in terms of exercise and sports in groups. Most people sit at home, have some DVD, train with it – and the next day everything hurts and they stay put. They do not move together with others.
Out of shame?
Yes. If you weigh 100 kilos and go into a yoga class, you are usually surrounded by slender and apparently fit people. Then you feel like a walrus under gazelles – and will not come back. What’s added: Go with clothes size 48 in a sports shop. Sports clothes in this size are simply not intended. I did that experience myself and it was also reported back to me often. I also teach yoga in companies. When I first get to know you, I often get an astonished “Oh, you are the yoga teacher?” to listen. Obviously, yoga is associated with young, slim, esoteric, and elfin. In doing so, yoga can help overweight people gain access to exercise and better body awareness.
Why yoga and not walking?
Yoga is not just about physical exercises. It also has a strong mental effect, improves self-esteem and encourages self-reflection: Where am I standing? What is going on with my body? Several of my students have come to me after some time and said: “Imagine, I signed up again in the gym.”
What should obese people consider if they want to do yoga?
Basically, I recommend everyone, no matter how fat, to go to a yoga school with certified teachers and join in a taster session. Then you realize pretty quickly if you like the studio atmosphere and the kind of lessons. A good yoga teacher will offer fitting hours in his repertoire – such as back-yoga or other gentle yoga lessons, where the exercises are held longer.
How does a yoga program for serious people differ from a course offered in a gym?
The classical exercises from hatha yoga are a little modified. Sometimes bacon is a hindrance – if you want to grab around yourself. The sitting forward bend with legs stretched forward can also be badly done by someone with a big belly. Then we do this exercise in the stile. We also practice the fluid transitions that are often done in fitness studios – but much more slowly. An overweight person might be able to do the exercises during a power yoga lesson, but after 10 minutes he would have a gasp and be frustrated.
What can yoga do for people who are overweight?
The correctly selected exercises are gentle on the joints, stretch and stimulate the metabolism. In addition, they improve the posture, which is extremely important for serious people. Yoga sets it up inside and out. Many participants are amazed at what their bodies can do. It’s not that overweight people are less articulated than lean people. But on the contrary! Athletic people often have severely shortened muscles. Overweight people are often quite flexible. It strengthens her self-confidence, to see that she can do a lot of exercises well with 90 kilos. This also returns to the desire for exercise – and self-respect increases!