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Yoga: Slim Bodies, Strong Minds

Slim Bodies, Strong Minds

Changing Your Lifestyle continued...

What you need to do, however, is know your body's physical limitations -- and make sure that your instructor knows them as well, Taylor advises. "Correct guidance is important," he says. "When beginning the yoga process, it's important to be aware of your own limitations -- to rest when you need to rest, for example -- but it's also important to tell the instructor so that he or she can work with your individual situation."

In a yoga class, it's not important what you look like, Taylor adds. "The image of their body may concern people who want to lose weight, but in class, you're in your own space. You learn not to judge yourself or others, and this creates a safe environment."

Beginning yoga classes also focus less on postures and more on becoming aware of your body and learning how it moves, Taylor says. "You're really learning, from the very beginning, to nurture and take care of yourself."

Something for Everyone

If the poses are difficult for you, modifications can always be made. If you have a hard time bending, for example, you can start off doing the postures in a chair or even on your bed. Many yoga postures can also be done with props, like bolsters or blocks, so that you don't have to bend as far.

If you're still shy about joining a class, there are several yoga videos designed for the more round-bodied. In fact, one series is called just that: Yoga for Round Bodies. Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss, Gentle Yoga with Naomi, and The Healing Path of Yoga are all suggested by Yoga Journal as good videos to get you started. (As with any form of exercise though, especially if you've been less than active in recent years, get your doctor's approval first.)

As you progress in the practice of yoga, you'll find that it becomes a way of life that will influence every aspect of your life, including what you eat, say yoga experts. "It doesn't happen quickly," Goa says. "But instead of feeling that you're restricting yourself, as you frequently do when you're dieting, you begin to feel better about yourself and you begin to make better choices about what you eat. You become picky about what you're putting in your body.

"Yoga teaches mindfulness and awareness," Goa adds. "It will help you find your natural body."

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