The Day I Gave Up Yoga

Featured on The Essential Life

 I'm really proud of how far the yoga community has come in regards to body image. It wasn't always that way. I remember when I first started yoga they were not as accepting of plus size yogis.

My Yoga Journey

My journey with yoga began over five years ago when my son decided he wanted to do yoga to help him with football. I had a good friend who was training to be a yoga instructor & I invited her to come to the house because I was embarrassed to go to the gym where she was teaching.  It didn't take long for me to fall head over heels in love with yoga.

The muscle groups I was building gave me so much confidence even though I wasn't losing weight. Eventually I really didn't care what people thought & I went to her class at the gym. It didn't matter to me that I was the biggest one there. I was kicking ass at the workouts & loving every minute of it. The confidence yoga gave me was so amazing!  But all that excitement & confidence was almost destroyed in one visit to a local studio.

The Day I Quit Yoga

I had started with traditional yoga but fell in love with a program called DDPY.  It’s a program that uses dynamic resistance & traditional yoga moves but in a non-traditional way. 

I was doing these workouts on a daily basis and really felt proud of my progress. I was even starting to lose some weight but I was still a plus size woman. One day, my friend invited me to go to a studio in town. I was excited to try something new. 

As I was in the bathroom, I heard the instructor walk up to my friend and ask her if she really thought I should be doing that class. Would I be able to keep up?  My friend looked at her & told her that I've been doing yoga for a while & I do DDP Yoga all the time. Her response was that DDP Yoga wasn't real yoga.

At the time it really hurt my feelings & made me angry. In that one statement she discounted all of the hard work I put in.  I felt like walking out of that studio but I didn’t.  I did the class that day just to prove that I could.  To prove to her she was wrong.  To prove to myself she was wrong.  To this day, I have never gone back to that studio or any other traditional yoga studio.  That was the day I quit traditional yoga.

Yoga for All

Notice I said traditional yoga because I never quit DDPY. The creator of that program is a former wrestler. When he created his program he wanted it to be accessible for everyone. He never turned anyone away or said that they couldn't do it because of their size or even disabilities. He makes comments like “modify if you have to” or “cheat if you have to you” & his favorite is “Never give up.”  I felt welcome in that community.  For once, I wasn't the biggest girl in the yoga class. No one was looking down their nose at me because I couldn't do something or didn't do it perfect.        

I actually told Dallas, the creator of DDP yoga, the story & how mad I was at her. I told him I wanted to throat punch her for saying DDP Yoga was not real yoga. He laughed & told me the next time someone says that to just tell them that he says it’s not real yoga either.  He likes being different.  I am so thankful that DDPY is different.  He will never give up on me as long as I don't give up on myself.  He will never tell me I can't do something.  He trains everyone in the program to say “I can't do it yet.” I'm so glad I have DDPY in my life or I would've walked away from one of the best exercises you can do for your body.

Over the last few years I've watched the yoga community change. Now there are yogis of all sizes. People are more accepting. I believe it's a step in the right direction because the size of your dress does not determine your health. 

Yoga is for everyone

It’s about time people realized it. 

Maria Garre yoga teacher

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