The big question, “am I too fat or too out of shape for yoga?” The answer is always no. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle and start working out.
My Usual Conversations
I have had a lot of conversations that usually go something like this:
Friend 1: Hey dude, I’ve seen all the stuff you’ve been doing on social media, it looks like it’s going well!
Me: Yeah, thank you! I’ve been having a blast. It’s awesome seeing and hearing from people whose lives I am helping to affect.
Friend 1: Yeah, I’m going to start your yoga stuff soon. Just have to wait until I lose a little bit of weight. I am out of shape right now and I don’t think my body is ready for yoga.
Hold on. You want to wait to do yoga until after you lose weight? What do you think your body is ready for – CrossFit? Because I’ve heard that that’s a lot less stressful than yoga, for sure.
Yoga Is for Developing Foundation Fitness
What a lot of people don’t realize is that yoga is movement basics 101. It’s everything that you should be able to do with your body, without weights. Adding in weights is level 2. Adding in weights is the minor leagues, and you’re still playing tee ball. You can train your body to move correctly and fix your posture with yoga, and then you can think about adding weights. Do you think that it’s healthier to start with the technique involved in a squat, or to jump straight into using weight with a squat? If you’ve answered this question with the latter, you go try that out and let me know how it goes. If you answered correctly, let’s build up the movement basics through yoga.
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Yoga & Flexibility
Another big reason why you want to start with yoga is because of the emphasis on flexibility. If you’re out of shape, you might be lucky and still have your range of motion. If you’re not, then you’re going to need to get that range of motion back before you enter the next CrossFit games. Range of motion precedes strength. You will never come close to your maximum potential if you are doing it with limited range of motion. In fact, you’re probably just contributing to muscle imbalances if you continue to hammer away at your strength training workouts without taking the time to address flexibility, joint capsule space, and range of motion.
My Final Thoughts
I could go on to write a few more examples, but I want to stop here and summarize what I’ve been trying to say. If you are out of shape, you need to take care of your body and prepare it for the exercise you’re going to do. Personally, I’m a big fan of yoga and I’ve been doing this for years now to maintain my physical fitness. There are bodyweight techniques and exercises found in yoga (and some that I add from calisthenics to form Man Flow Yoga) that I can use to address whatever imbalance or weakness I want to address in my body, without using weights or excessive gym equipment.
I’m not trying to make yoga your primary form of fitness. I want you to be able to do whatever form of movement you enjoy doing for as many years as you can do it for. I do know that yoga, and more specifically the fitness-centric yoga that I’ve developed, can help you do that.
So, if you want to get back to the weight room, into a box, or back onto the field, you probably can’t go straight back to the workout that you were doing in high school. Your body is different now. Yoga will help restore the range of motion that you’ve lost, improve your posture, correct your imbalances, and re-teach you basic principles of movement so that you can stay injury-free, and above that, perform even better than you did before.
So are you too fat for yoga? No.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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