beauty & wellness
YOGA AND PILATES, BABY!
In my twinkling twenties I lived in Brooklyn, NY–Fort Greene to be exact–and shared a Brownstone with three friends. It was “Living Single” at its best! During this time I began a number of exercise and fitness practices (primarily step aerobics and yoga) that I have mostly continued throughout the years. Instead of looking at working out as strictly a means to an end–weight loss–I saw it as an opportunity to be fit, fat, and fabulous! While I won’t get into the belabored argument of whether or not fat people can be fit, I certainly know that skinny people can be unfit. When I worked out at home, my good friend and housemate Sharon–slim and trim from birth–would regularly ask me to “do a few [crunches]” for her. Back then Sharon rarely worked out and regularly acknowledged that I was likely more fit than she. Today, she and I know first-hand that the aging process will show up and smack you upside the head with the reality that regular exercise is imperative no matter your size. Sharon is now a gym regular.
A few years later I joined a Yoga For Round Bodies practice in Manhattan. It was incredibly liberating to engage in physical activity tailored to the needs of my ample, flexible body. Sadly, while rocking my fierce, high-heel, pointed toe, red leather clogs, I got “rocked” by an uneven sidewalk in an unmarked construction zone. My left foot was broken, my right hand sprained, and my yoga practice ended. Trying to heal a broken foot while living in Manhattan and relying on buses, subways, and taxicabs to get around town is no joke! Mari Winsor’s 20 Minute Pilates became my answer to remaining physically active while healing. Working out with the Winsor Pilates mat method meant virtually no stress or strain on either my feet or hands. By the fifth workout I saw my body changing. I won’t tell you how, but once you try it, you’ll be hooked! Shortly thereafter you’ll move from the 20-minute workout to the longer, more challenging advanced session.
Although I’m a member of a fitness club and somewhat satisfied with the treadmill/elliptical machine/cardio/earbud experience, I missed connecting with my body in solitude–no, not in that way–and recently returned to Pilates and yoga practices via DVDs. Again, a big shout-out to Mari Winsor and her cornucopia of excellent Pilates DVDs.
Returning to yoga was not as easy. I feared that my body–more specifically my feet and hands–would not serve/support me as they once did. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svana), which was once so easy for me, seemed doubtful. But I soldiered on and returned to my practice with the Megayoga with Megan Garcia DVD. Megan Garcia, for those of you unfamiliar with her contributions to full-figured wellness, is a plus-size model, yoga instructor, and the author of Mega Yoga, the first yoga instruction book specifically written for “curvy yoga practitioners.” I am pleased to report that my Downward-Facing Dog is now the cat’s meow! In addition to working out with DVDs, I encourage you to attend classes to learn the correct execution of exercises and postures AND to experience the camaraderie of others on this shared journey.
Inspiration and Resources
® 2013, laura rice, lauraricedesigns.com
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