British Columbia

Power pose: Kamloops studio to empower all body types through yoga

Kamloops Hot Yoga is hosting a new class in hopes of encouraging newcomers who don't consider themselves to be athletic to try the activity.

'There's a lot of fear there': Kamloops yoga studio wants to reduce body shaming

Heather Robinson has struggled with her body weight since she was a child. (Vanessa Brown/Kamloops Hot Yoga)

Kamloops's Heather Robinson has struggled with her weight her whole life. 

For a long time, she didn't even consider getting fit.

"I always had this idea that, oh I'm more on the heavier side, I'm not very athletic — exercise isn't for me."

Fear prevented her from trying yoga

After always wanting to try yoga, she was surprised by the results when she eventually worked up the courage to give it a try. 

"I'm a lot more athletic than I thought I was," she said.

"It was this fear of walking into that yoga class that sort of prevented me from doing that because I don't look like I'm very physically fit."

Now, she teaches a class at Kamloops Hot Yoga called Abundant Bodies aimed at those who feel they are too heavy or not the right size to try yoga.

"I want everyone else who might be kind of afraid to step into an exercise class to be able to experience all those benefits," she said.

Yoga teacher Heather Robinson hopes the Abundant Bodies class makes people rethink their ability to be active. (Vanessa Brown/Kamloops Hot Yoga)

"My hope is that people can experience the freedom that comes along with not being concerned about the way [they] look."

So far it's been working. The first class filled up and the studio has had to start up another session to accommodate all the participants.

Some participants nervous

Studio owner Trina Redman says when newcomers first visit the studio they seem a little unsure about whether they are in the right place.

"The popular media has this idea of what you should look like when you come to yoga, and we realized that many of us that come to our yoga studio don't look like that," said Redman.

Many people fear starting yoga because of the unattainable body image, according to Heather Robinson. (Shutterstock / ZephyrMedia)

She says some people who signed up call her worried about whether they will be able to handle the class but says the poses will be modified to accommodate all class members.

"We're hyper-focused on the body and the way that public opinion is such that apparently having a very small and skinny and sort of tight kind of body is sort of the ideal ...There's a lot of fear there," said Robinson.

"All of us regardless of the shape and size of our body can be healthy."

The Abundant Bodies class starts on Jan. 8 at the Kamloops Hot Yoga studio.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops