When considering yoga, many may feel that it is only for those who are already in good shape and capable of performing complex movements and positions. If you do a Google image search using the word “yoga,” it results in countless images of thin men and women in various poses that seem like would take a great deal of control and strength to pull off. It can be a common misconception that if you are overweight or obese, you will not be able to keep up, but this is not true; there is no limit to who can get involved with this great health-boosting activity.

Is Yoga Right For Those Who Are Overweight or Obese

Yoga graphic

Yoga is absolutely a worthwhile option to look into if you are obese and seeking a healthy activity to engage in. What is great about yoga is that you are not being pressured to perform at a fast rate. Many fast-paced options, such as spin class or the Insanity workout with Shaun T leave you feeling insecure as you struggle to keep up.

The videos within the “Insanity” program even showcase thin women and men who can, for the most part, easily keep up with Sean T as he jumps from one intense exercise to the next. When carrying even just 50 to 100 extra pounds of body fat and having health issues that can come along with being overweight, such as respiratory problems, those exercises are much more difficult to keep up with.

Yoga, on the other hand, is performed at a slow and steady pace. While some of the poses are more advanced and cannot be performed by all, there is room to adjust and do what you can within your physical limitations. There is nothing wrong with building up to new poses while taking your time to breathe and enjoy the journey.

Health Benefits of Doing Yoga

Yoga can serve as an amazing solution to a series of health issues such as:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor circulatory health
  • Back pain
  • Lack of emotional balance
  • Insomnia

What makes this particularly interesting is that these are all issues that can lead to or be caused by obesity. So why not take advantage?

Tips For Getting Started with Yoga

Yoga class in session.

1. Be Aware of Your limits: When first going into yoga, it is important to approach it with a realistic understanding of your capabilities and limitations. It may be required that you first consult your primary care physician to help ensure you do not overdo your regimen based on physical and health-related limitations that you may have. If you start yoga, embrace your limitations and encourage yourself rather than be critical. If you need to use equipment such as a chair, do it with a positive attitude and count each small step toward better flexibility and strength as an accomplishment worth celebrating!

2. Accept Your Limitations: It is one thing to be aware of what your body can or can’t do, but it is more important to accept and support it. If you are perhaps older and know that your joints cannot take on a certain pose, put your body first and work around it. This will lead to better results for you in the long run.

3. Love Yourself and Your Body: Don’t take this journey for superficial or negative reasons. Do this for yourself! Smile in the mirror, and let self-love spread throughout your mind and body. Yoga is based on inner harmony. So embrace that inner harmony and treat yourself internally and externally with compassion.

You May Need to Lose Weight Before Doing Yoga

As stated above, it is important to be aware of and accept limitations. For some who are obese, it may not be safe to do yoga without first losing weight. Obesity must be taken seriously, with appropriate steps taken so as to avoid future complications such as accidental injuries.

Yoga After Bariatric Surgery

If you are personally at a point where you know you should take steps to weight loss before implementing certain physical activities, bariatric surgery may be the option for you. Bariatric surgery procedures such as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (also known as gastric sleeve or VSG), serve as a valuable tool in achieving fast and long-term weight loss success.

Key factors that play into the success of a weight loss surgery patient are the postoperative diet and lifestyle. If you want to become a healthier you truly, it is important to follow the bariatric surgery post-op diet and implement exercise. What is great about yoga is that once approved to do so, you can begin to implement it into your routine at your own pace.

Caution: It is strongly advised that you gradually introduce exercise after surgery, following appropriate guidelines. Yoga options such as “hot yoga” should also be pursued with caution as the heat can cause dehydration, leading to heat exhaustion if you cannot consume enough water.