Don't shy away from original ideas for larger people.
Major Moves is a mind-body class that focuses on stretching, strengthening and simple body-awareness moves. Instructor Sally Pugh leads the class in Berkeley, California, and carefully designs the 10-week session to be drop-in friendly. The main goal, according to Pugh, is to create a safe environment for large women to connect with their bodies through movement and relaxation.
Plus-Size Pilates is one of many classes at Naturally Women in Tucson, Arizona. The class, taught by Mary Gordon, is specifically designed for bigger bodies. According to an article in the March 24, 2005, Tucson Citizen, the class “modifies traditional Pilates moves . . . to suit challenges such as a bigger belly, large breasts, heavy arms and legs and expanded hips.”
Mount Airy Moving Arts in Philadelphia offers Yoga for Round People. Certified yoga instructor Melanie Jones, herself an “abundant woman,” teaches gentle moves and shows modifications for size and mobility challenges. “If a classic asana is not feasible for a student, I use chairs, the wall, blankets, pillows, bolsters or straps, depending on the need,” Jones says.
She also teaches an informative class called “You Don’t Have to Be Teeny to Be a Yogini.” Following one of her workshops, Jones received what she describes as her most poignant comment from a participant: “I didn’t know I could enjoy moving my body. Now, I am going to learn how to love myself.”
IDEA member Jenny Rowe is a group fitness instructor and personal fitness trainer at the Pacific Athletic Club in Redwood City, California. The Pacific Athletic Club Weight Loss Class runs 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Each day features a different activity.
A sample week looks like this:
- Monday: circuit training
- Tuesday: full-court basketball game
- Wednesday: indoor cycling
- Thursday: swimming and water polo
- Friday: weight training
“I’ve been teaching group exercise for 13 years now, and leading this class has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Rowe says. “I get to see students who have never exercised in their lives go from hardly being able to walk to being able to complete a 2-mile sprint. The changes in their personalities throughout the course of the class are just amazing.”