Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you use the word Fat? Isn't that offensive?
A:
You mean, as opposed to “plus-sized” or “pudgy” or “fluffy”? Or the more commonly hateful "overweight" or "obese"? Fat is simply a descriptive word. Unfortunately through misuse the word fat has become burdened with negative feelings and connotations.  Because we don't believe that any one body type is better than another, there's no reason for Fat to be a bad word. Fat is fine. Using words like "hefty" or "big boned" can be problematic. We don't want to make excuses for something that needs no excusing, explaining, or shaming. We aim to reclaim it for what it is- a totally neutral descriptive adjective! Well, maybe just a bit of pride in reclaiming the word too.

Q:
Isn't being Fat a bad thing?
A: Not intrinsically, no.  We believe that a person should not be judged by the amount of fat they have, and that there is no “right” amount of fat.  A person’s physical health cannot be determined from simply looking at their shape or weight. Furthermore, even if somebody is fat and unhealthy (or thin and unhealthy), no human deserves to be judged, shamed or mistreated.

Q: 
Is Fat Yoga for fat people only? Are there size requirements?
A: No way! All bodies are welcome at Fat Yoga. Many of our regular members do not identify as fat, but then tons of us do. The only requirements are that you leave conversations of negative body talk, restrictive dieting, weight loss goals and size-judgment at the door.  

Q:
 Can I share about my latest weight-loss plan or diet at Fat Yoga? How about my weight loss success?
A: Nope. While people may have good intentions, these conversations often come across as offensive and hurtful. Additionally there's vast scientific evidence citing the negative mental & physical health effects of yo-yo dieting. For more about diet plans and weight-loss success stories. One of the main objectives of Fat Yoga is loving and empowering ourselves and our bodies in the present; restrictive eating & scale-watching is the opposite of that.

Q:
 
What about weight loss? I want to lose X number of pounds. Will Fat Yoga work for me?
A:
  People engage in a yoga practice for many reasons, however we've found coming to yoga for yoga's sake is the best reason. No mistake, Fat Yoga is not for wussies- we work hard! Engaging in a committed yoga practice definitely has the potential to transform ourselves physically, mentally and even spiritually. Weight-loss however, is never the objective Fat Yoga.    

Q: 
Then what IS the goal of Fat Yoga?
A: 
 We're glad you asked!  Our goal is to provide everyone- regardless of size- with an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of yoga in a positive, non-competitive environment. Yoga is an excellent transitional fitness option as well. Our yogis get a great workout complete with messy sweating and active breathing without feeling self-conscious.  The poses and movements strengthen muscles, tendons & organs. Not to mention the numerous benefits for bone, joint and circulatory health. Fat Yoga also provides more intangible benefits such as increased confidence, better balance, and a general feeling of bad-assery. These changes towards being more physically capable reveal themselves in tons of subtle & obvious ways in our everyday lives. You'll find this out for yourself too. In the meantime, check out what other Fat Yoga practitioners have to say.

Q:
Do I need to have yoga experience to join Fat Yoga?  Do I already have to be “in shape”?
A:
Nope!  We welcome all skill levels, and will work closely with you to make sure the classes challenge you without causing injuries.  At the same time we don’t coddle you- be prepared to work hard, whatever that means for you and your body, wherever you're at now.

Q:
 
What are the kinds of adjustments do you do that are different from a "standard" yoga class?
A: Not much actually. The main difference is that the majority of our yogis and most of our teachers identify as fat. This changes things for how our bodies move. Thick thighs, round bellies, large hips and butts all change how we approach and modify poses. Since our teachers have these kinds of bodies too, it's just natural we verbalize the adjustments & modifications that come with the territory.

Q: What is Health At Every Size?
A: Health at Every Size (aka HAES) is a belief system that focuses on intuitive eating and pleasurable physical activity rather than dieting and weight loss. Linda Bacon authored this amazing book, and facilitates the fostering of the greater HAES community.

Q:
Do I need to bring anything to class?
A: 
Just your smile and a positive attitude!  Ok- that's kind of cheesy…  We do have loaner mats and other props available for you to use during class if you need them. For those who are engaged in a committed yoga practice, we encourage you to have your own yoga mat (we have both loaners & for-purchase available). Also we suggest bringing a water bottle & small towel for hydration & sweating.  Make sure you also come with an empty belly!


Q:
 Why should I come to class with an empty stomach?
A: We recommend you don’t eat for a 2-3 hours prior to class. Food in the stomach usually causes a fair bit of discomfort. As you can imagine, wringing out a hand towel is way easier than a bath towel. During yoga practice, we're expanding and contracting organs a lot. In fact yoga helps with digestion- it really gets things moving, so to speak. However, food still in the stomach can cause urpy-ness and just feels gross. Most people will test this theory, however usually just one the time.

Q:
I forgot about yoga tonight and I just ate, should I just skip class?
A:
Well that's a tricky one. We'd never want to encourage any self-sabotage (even the accidental kind), so skipping class isn't endorsed. It's a better idea to go ahead and come to class. Be sure to let the teacher know you've eaten, and then take it a little easier in today's class. A gentler practice today far exceeds just-skipping-it. 

Q:
 Will you guys be my Facebook friend?
A:
Of course!  You can find us on FacebookTwitter and our blog. We promise not to spam up your news-feed with a bunch of boring stuff.

Q: I love Fat Yoga but I am totally broke. Does that mean no yoga for me?
A: Fat Yoga's first objective is to be accessible. Sliding-scale and/or work trade may be available. Contact us to discuss your goals, and we'll do our best to help work something out. This option is only for the those very tenacious in their yoga practice commitment.   

Q:
What's a committed yoga practice?
A: A committed yoga practice is as the name implies. Showing up to class is the first hurdle. Even when we're feeling down, even when we'd rather stay home and read a book, even when it's that time of the month. People who have a committed yoga practice, do sometimes miss classes on rare occasions; however not the majority of the time. That being said, a committed practice is not for everyone. Drop-ins are always welcome, and sometimes even the most persistent yogi's need a break now and then. All of the above is okay. It's about loving and accepting ourselves for right where we are now.

Q: Are your classes only in SE Portland?
A: For now, most of our classes are in SE Portland. Starting in 2013, we're looking to add some hosted classes in NE too. Now that Fat Yoga has our own studio, we hope to get back to NE soon, for all of our loyal fit fatties there too.

Q:  This body-acceptance idea sounds great!  Where can I read more about it?
A:  We’re glad you think so!  Check out our Resources page for some good starting points.


***Have more questions? Email info@fatyoga.org and we will get back to you and  then add yours to this list.