Many yoga videos are designed for waif thin Hollywood bodies but Meera who is also plus size (18 petite) teaches that any body can do yoga with a little ingenuity. Meera created this video for those who are too intimidated by their size to go to classes.
In this instance, the concept of "big yoga" is not limited to the usual physical connotations but reflects its inclusiveness. Yoga is more than putting the body into poses. It involves relaxing and strengthening the body, quieting the mind, controlling the breathing, chanting and so much more.
The Big Yoga DVD runs 60 minute and is divided into nine chapters. It begins with the usual health warnings -- designed for those who are generally fit and in good health; not a substitute for regular medical care; consult doctor before beginning; practice on an empty stomach and do not use if pregnant.
Here are the chapters:
-Inversion & Fish
-Pranayama (breathing exercise)
In the introduction Meera starts things off with some chanting to get energy moving and provide a peaceful environment. She immediately assume viewers can sit in a cross leg position. An alternative is provided at the end of the chanting (sitting on feet) but it's not comfortable for someone with large thighs.
Salute to the Sun encompasses 12 poses that limber up the body. This was an excellent adaptation of what can be a very tiring and strenuous manoeuvre for a plus size body when done with the floor. I know I always had a hard time keeping up with the class without getting out of breath or getting too hot.
Various Bends includes back ward bends like the cobra, boat, half locus and head to knee forward bends.
Yoga Midra provides deep relaxation via tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. This is one of my favourite cool downs which is also a good stress reliever that can be done anytime. There's a repeating falling petals at a shrine during this time that is kind of hokey if you're just watching the video but is neither here nor there.
There wasn't as many modifications as I expected there would be, especially for people with large midsections. I like how the DVD incorporates breath work and chanting into the session. It's recommended and definitely required to watch the video first if you want to catch the alternative poses to work on with the video. I would have liked her to mention them sooner before getting completely into the pose. Not all poses are easy to do and require some mid section strength. If you want to start work on a specific chapter you can click on it but it won't stop after that section.
Overall Impression - Excellent beginner's video for someone who has some other form of physical activity already in their daily schedule. Some poses may pose a problem for those with any neck or back issues. The chanting and breathing exercises are a nice touch, providing a well rounded routine. The DVD doesn't have a commercialized feel to it with Meera giving all the directions in a calming and instructional voice. She shows you don't have to be limited by your size or your age for that matter. I look forward to seeing more of Meera's planned series of videos.
Big Yoga : Beginners Hatha 1
Big Yoga Production, 2006
Big Yoga is available from Amazon.com