Let's face it. There are not a lot of yoga books out there by commercial publishers for curvy women. It's about time a plus size model who actually practises yoga shared one with us. And she's bigger than a size 10!
Megan Garcia is a prominent model for both magazine and catalogues. She starred in a yoga video by the clothing company Just My Size (see recommended links below for review) in 2005. Mega Yoga is a totally separate venture all her own.
Megan was attracted to the concepts of yoga in college. Out of necessity she immediately began developing modifications for her body type but it wasn't until she attended the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts that she considered becoming a certified yoga instructor. Since then it's developed into regular classes at her studio in Manhattan, New York.
Mega Yoga covers the basic concepts of yoga and focuses strongly on the ability to treat yourself with compassion and avoid judgement. Or as Megan says, to take up space with no second thoughts. In the physical realm it teaches you how to use props like straps, blocks, walls and chairs to intensify or modify a pose.
With a motivating voice she guides readers through breath, movement and meditation to generate strength and sensitivity via Hatha (movement) yoga, all modified for the plus size woman. An ongoing theme throughout Mega Yoga is the importance of getting to know your body and how it works. Because plus size women have cushions where the average yoga user doesn't Megan offers "skills" such as moving the flesh and binding the breasts as a way of getting deeper into poses. I don't have the chest issue so I can't let you know how effective this technique is but the moving flesh is a viable option.
Mega Yoga is a full colour, heavy weight, glossy, 157 page book intended for beginners. It's divided into seven categories. Each category of poses has Megan wearing a different colour outfit which is a great marker if you're quickly flipping through the book to find a specific section. The pictures are clear and they are numbered so you know where to look next. The pose explanations are brief and point out areas to keep an eye or focus on. Practically every page has a sidebar for mega tips, modifications, cautions or ways to intensify poses.
There is more to yoga than poses so Megan teaches three types of breathing common to yoga practise but sometimes lost in class translation: dirgha breathing, ujjayi breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
At the end everything is arranged into three programs, 30 minute, 60 minute and 90 minute, with a small image of each pose and what page to find it on if you need further direction.
Here are the categories:
Wall poses and Inversions
I really enjoyed reading Mega Yoga and found it helpful for fine tuning moves I was somewhat familiar with as well as giving me some basic background information on the poses. I did not feel overwhelmed by the material and it is a quick read. I did find an error on page 70 where the back foot is labelled as turned out at 45 degrees when it's at 90 degrees but everything else appears accurate.
What I would have liked to have seen is a pull out section of the programs so I could post them for easier reference or perhaps a ring binding so the book would stay open at the page I'm working on. Technical things that have nothing to do with the content.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mega Yoga and highly recommend it.
Mega Yoga is available from Amazon.com.
Mega Yoga is available from Amazon.ca.