Yoga studio works to reshape the look of fitness

Posted at 7:13 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 08:53:05-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Going to the gym or working out may be hard for some people who are self-conscious about their weight or abilities.

But, Flip Dog Yoga in Grand Rapids is working to break those barriers.

"For myself, as a person in a larger body doing yoga, I realized there were a lot of barriers that some teachers didn't know how to work with my body, that my yoga sometimes needs to look different than other peoples yogas," remembered Emily Martin.

She eventually got certified to be an instructor and joined Flip Dog Yoga. Martin vowed to make sure other students like her feel comfortable in their own bodies.

"I realized there's a need for this because in our culture, so often we are focusing on the things we want to be, things we aren't yet, and forget to accept ourselves as we are right now," Martin said.

She even started a Yoga for Larger Bodies series and was impressed with the response she got from participants.

"We use lots of props like blocks, straps, folding chairs to help support our practice and experience things differently," Martin explained.

"It was a game-changer for me," said Francie Gleason, who's been coming to these classes for a few months.

Gleason said she used to feel discouraged in some fitness classes.

"When I go to some of these classes, I'm usually the biggest person in the room which makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes," Gleason explained. "So, it's nice to come into a place like this with a bunch of people just like me."

During her time at Flip Dog, Gleason started reshaping her image of fitness.

"Working out as a teen and into my early 20s, it was always about punishment, like you should be working out because you're too big, whereas this is like, lets celebrate all the things your body can do no matter what your size."

Gleason is taking that newfound confidence everywhere she goes.

"I'm feeling more confident in my skin in general. Just getting to spend an hour with these ladies each week and letting the judgement go about my own body."

Flip Dog Yoga finishes a Yoga for Larger Bodies series Saturday, but the have another Intro to Yoga for Larger Bodies Workshop on Sunday, April 28.  It's located at 1511 Plainfield Ave NE Suite B in Grand Rapids.

Call (616) 540-3630.