Ask the Teacher: Your Practice Is Meant to Fit You

Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for a day, a week, or month, we all have questions. It can be daunting to approach your teacher after class, so we’re bringing the expert to you! This week, Brittany Policastro, Philadelphia-based yoga teacher, facilitator, writer and founder/director of Beyond Asana, answers a question from one of our readers. Do you have a question? Let us know in the comments section below!

I’m overweight. I’m terrified to try a yoga class. Will I be able to do the poses and keep up with the class?
– Eleanor L., Lake Forest, IL

I’ve got two words for you- Jessamyn Stanley. She is a self-described “fat femme” and practices and teaches yoga. Watch some of her videos. She rocks her yoga practice. You can ABSOLUTELY practice yoga when you are overweight. 

This standard of skinny white women being the rulers of the yoga world isn’t real and it sucks that this keeps those who do not fit that standard off their yoga mats. But I get it. It’s hard not to feel like everyone else. And some people can be mean and judgmental. And I am not going to say that this won’t happen. It may. But then you know that that isn’t the class for you.

You want a class where the teacher gives you an extra hand if you need it. A teacher you feel safe with. They are out there. So don’t settle for just one studio or one class. Keep looking until you find what you need.

As for the postures, remember this- you are not meant to fit into the yoga practice. The practice is meant to fit into you. You don’t have to look like the person next to you. You just have to feel safe in the postures and take it at your own pace. You may also want to take a beginners class or a slower flowing class to start out. Vinyasa yoga can be quick paced with lots of flow and sometimes it can be hard to keep up when you are new. But above all else trust yourself. Trust what feels right. Find a class and a teacher that fits. You’ve got this.

Known as a Stevie Wonder-loving, truth-speaking change-agent who bagged law school to pursue a creative thirst, Brittany T. Policastro rarely follows the pack - on or off the mat. She is a yoga teacher, facilitator, writer and the founder/director of Beyond Asana and has been teaching a creative and soul-stirring combination of Vinyasa and alignment-based yoga for 12 years. She writes for the Huffington Post and her own blog- The Breakthrough Blog which you can find at www.livingbeyondasana.com. Brittany loves dancing,  food prepared with love, reading every night and is currently working on her first book. Connect with Brittany on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube