New yoga program offers space for all body types

Abundant Bodies program aims to encourage participation in yoga from all body types

Abundant Bodies instructor Heather Robinson. (Image provided by Kamloops Hot Yoga)

If you have never been to a yoga class, the image of a room filled with slim Lululemon-clad people might come to mind. This perception can be quite intimidating, especially to those who may be struggling with their weight.

Heather Robinson, an instructor at Kamloops Hot Yoga, wants to break down barriers for people with bigger bodies with her new “Abundant Bodies” program. She struggled with her weight for years. At first she was hesitant to even try yoga, but now after years of practice she wants to encourage others to not let their size hold them back.

Robinson said she feels that she and everyone else has been indoctrinated to look down on bigger bodies.

“Those ideas planted inside our heads prevent us from trying something new,” Robinson said.

Her inspiration for the new program came when she began an online yoga training program that aimed at opening up the exercise for all body types. Through this, Robinson was introduced to the body positivity movement and wanted to bring what she had learned to Kamloops.

“It’s easy to say all bodies are beautiful. It’s another thing to act on that,” Robinson said.

She wanted to challenge the dieting and weight loss methods our culture is obsessed with and turn the focus towards a more positive perspective on the body.

“It’s not about weight loss, or changing. It’s about celebrating where we are right now and working with the body that we bring to the mat today. So let’s send a specific invitation to those living in larger bodies and see if they would like to participate in yoga classes.”

Since then, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People are really excited to have the space to explore functional movements in their body in a way that doesn’t expect that they need to change,” Robinson said.

Trina Redman, one of the owners of Kamloops Hot Yoga emphasizes on how manageable the classes are and that you’ll still work hard.

“I think an idea we have here in the west is if you’re going to go to the gym you need to go seven times a week or something intense. These are simply once a week for an hour,” Redman said.

“These classes still provide the full potential to work hard. It’s not somehow more mystical or different from other yoga. It’s still a regular class,” Redman said.

Abundant Bodies classes are currently sold out for this month, but new classes are available in February. For more information visit kamloopshotyoga.com.