Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too Fat For Yoga

I found a new dance/fitness place that is just opening in my favorite mall, Savage Mill. I was so excited about taking classes there that I immediately signed up for one. Because I have a lot of bulk around my middle and have been really sedentary until just last week, I decided to start with yoga. I have arthritis in my hip and need all of the flexibility I can get.

I went to the first class last Thursday and everything went well, or so I thought. I was the only student in the class since this place is so new, and my only complaint was that the teacher was babying me too much and I actually prefer less attention for the teacher rather than more. Anyway, towards the end of class the teacher excused herself, supposedly to use the restroom.

After the class I felt nice and relaxed and all stretched out. The teacher and the owner of the place and I chatted about stuff like Ren Fest and the owner's plans for the studio. Then, just as I was about to leave, she asked me to stop and talk with her about something.

She sat me down and told me that I am TOO FAT FOR YOGA!!!

I was so shocked and angry that I could feel my eyes filling up, so I grabbed my stuff and left instead of telling her what an idiot she was right then and there. Needless to say, I dropped out of the class and will not be going back. This is the same woman who told me, during my tour of the facilities, about a student she has who is mostly blind, half-crippled and 70 years old. My weight is high, but I am NOT crippled, or mentally handicapped, which is how she spoke to me.

I know that women practice yoga all through pregnancy until they actually give birth. Is she saying that my stomach is more of a handicap than that? I firmly believe that they just didn't want an unsightly fat person in the class. If I had been skinny and just as uncoordinated and sedentary, they would never have said anything.

I probably should have fought them and insisted on attending the class since they saw me when I signed up and I actually asked them point blank, "Is this class for fat chicks, too," but I wouldn't want to give them my money. I found a new yoga class just down the street for less than half the price. I'll let you know if they say I am too fat for yoga. Somehow I doubt it.

I get so angry at the prejudice people of my size get in this country solely because of our current fitness level. It's not just that we get less whistles from men, we get lower salaries, reduced respect and insensitive remarks from people who either would not or could not do the same if we had any other difference. People of minority races and the disabled are protected from this kind of thing. Can you imagine being told, "You are too black for yoga?" "You are too stupid for yoga!" "You are too short for yoga." "You are too deformed for yoga." See, don't those sound ugly and horrible? Then why is "You are too fat for yoga" acceptable? It shouldn't be and hopefully some day it won't be. In the meantime, I'll watch and wait for this studio to fail. With an attitude like that, they are bound to.

7 comments:

Sandra G said...

I am so sorry this happened to you but I do know what you mean. A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight and many, many people told me how wonderful I looked and everything I wore looked good on me. Unfortunately, I have gained back all the weight I lost without really trying and no-one says how good I look or how great my clothes look on me. They may think they're being sensitive but they're not.

Brian Arnold said...

Ugh - that's such crap. I can't believe that. I'd report 'em to the BBB just so there's a complaint on file.

Emma Wood said...

That's ridiculous! I can't believe she said that, what a bunch of crap!

I hope you stand outside each class with a picket sign saying what an idiot she is.

Anonymous said...

i had a yoga instructor once who taught that it was the teacher's job to bring yoga to the student as opposed to bringing the student to yoga. hope you had a better experience the next time. if not, keep looking. yoga is for everyone (who wants it). namaste!

Anonymous said...

Wow, now I know this post has been around for a while. But I myself am a yoga instructor who is overweight. And yoga IS for everyone indeed - it's not even about the physical body and what was said to you goes against all principles of yoga essence.

I certainly hope you found someone more in desire to helping others and really lives their yoga and welcomes everyone with open arms.

Namaste,

Kirana said...

Again another wow, the teacher (I use word lightyly as they are not teaching) that told you, you were too fat is not a true yoga instructor. Yoga is from the heart and open to all of any shape or form of ability. I am a yoga instructor and my goodness my thoughts are 'if you can breath, you can be a student of yoga'. I have a friend who is creating 'chubby yoga DVDs'. They are to dispell the images of yoga for only being for the thin & fully mobile. To aid in their personal practice. She is even doing a DVD for wheelchair yoga.

(Most business is built on word of mouth, the studio with learn.:)

Namaste'

Mara Nesbitt said...

I just saw this post and want to respond. I am a supersized woman and taught yoga for 13 years, starting in 1985. My class was Yoga for Large Women (I wanted to use the word fat but not everyone is as comfortable as I am with that word). I weighed over 400 pounds when I taught the class and adapted asanas for bodies with big butts, bellies and breasts. I also made two videos (no longer available) which helped many people who didn't live in my city.

I hope that you found a class in which you feel comfortable and have been able to keep up your yoga practice.

If you google me, you should find reference to my videos, work in fat-acceptance and massage.