Curvy Yoga Celebrates All Shapes and Sizes

Featured Article, Fitness, Workout Plans
on January 8, 2014
Credit: Vivienne McMaster

Anna Guest-Jelley, the founder of Curvy Yoga, is a yogi, writer, educator and lifelong champion for women’s empowerment and body acceptance. In her yoga classes, she propagates a number of powerful, impactful teachings: That the time we spend criticizing our bodies is better spent chasing our dreams. That we are deserving of unconditional acceptance and blissful happiness. That we are all perfect, just the way we are.

These affirmations were borne out of Anna’s personal journey toward self-love. After years of battling warped self-image, sickeningly low self-esteem and extreme dieting behaviors, Anna finally discovered a place of peace in the practice of yoga. Along with it came a greater sense of self-acceptance—and a passionate desire to share the joys of yoga with other women, to help them overcome their own unique body challenges.

“After a lifetime of training myself to disconnect from my body through dieting, I had no clue what I was feeling in my body or emotions,” Anna says. “By inviting me to connect with my breath and body, yoga gave me the tools to rebuild the bridge back to myself.”

In most yoga studios—which are often overwhelmingly populated with svelte, young and hyper-flexible women wearing size 0 Lululemon pants—it’s easy to feel daunted and out of place. That’s where Curvy Yoga comes in. A training and inspiration portal offering classes, workshops, teacher trainings, retreats and a virtual yoga studio, Curvy Yoga celebrates women of every size, age and ability.

“I started Curvy Yoga because I’d always wanted to find something like it—a body positive place where people of all shapes and sizes could practice in ways that work for their unique bodies,” says Anna, who has been practicing yoga since the late 90s (well before it was “trendy”) and is E-RYT200 and RYT500.

Certain yoga postures—particularly, twists and inversions—can present difficulties for fuller-figured women. For this reason, Anna offers helpful modifications and adaptations to help curvier yogis feel comfortable during their practice.

“My hope with Curvy Yoga is to offer a welcoming space for people to get what they need to practice comfortably, so they can get on to the important work of listening to their body and meeting its needs,” Anna says. “I think that’s something we can all use more of!”

Want to get started in your journey toward self-discovery? Tune in below as Anna guides you through a series of beginner-friendly “asanas” (Sanskrit for “poses”) that will boost energy, foster positivity and build confidence—on and off the mat.

1. Mountain Flow

2. Warrior Flow

3. Twisting Flow

4. Restorative Flow

5. Inversion Flow

To find a Curvy Yoga class near you, visit Special thanks to our friends at Shakti Power Yoga for kindly lending their studio space.