Yoga teaches me to balance my weight evenly on my feet and has enabled me to walk without ankle pain.

Going on two years ago, my daughter and I heard about the Yoga for the Larger Woman class at The Yoga Project and decided that we would try this together. As a woman in my seventies I had some concerns. I done a little yoga before, but that was a long time ago. Even if we would be with other larger women, would I be able to keep up?

I needn’t have been concerned. The other women in this class are friendly and supportive. The room is full of smiles, before and after class. The class provides community; I have come to feel connected with my classmates. And the instructor is gifted in bringing yoga to us and not requiring that we measure up to some magazine or photo book. She too is supportive of everyone in the class. And I like it that in every class she has something new, or some variation of what we’ve done before for us try out.

But it is not just the community that makes me a regular in the class. Exploring my physical capabilities and an opportunity to gain better strength, flexibility, and self confidence is also pulling me to the mat. And my regular dose of yoga has definitely enhanced my well being through straightforward physical benefits.

One of the biggest benefits I have experienced concerns my feet. For many years as a nurse, I was on my feet for long hours day after day. Unfortunately, all too often I wore shoes that were poorly fitting. What that did to my feet—and the way I tried to adjust how I would stand to lessen the discomfort—eventually caused me a lot of pain, particularly in my right ankle. An MRI showed a ruptured tendon and “flat feet.” The podiatrist offered a surgery to replace the tendon so it could hold the foot in a better position, but I chose not to go this route. I wore a brace in the right shoe for about three months with little improvement. My walking decreased considerably because of the discomfort I continued to experience in my feet.

Yoga has helped me to manage the pain in my feet. I’ve learned how to find a proper positioning for my feet and how to attend to balancing on my feet. In my yoga practice and in my walking I am working on getting more stability in the front of my feet instead of too much weigh on the heels, which had been my tendency. As a result my foot problems—the arch and ankle pain—are much reduced.

Most certainly, yoga is something I am doing, and enjoying, and I don’t want to stop.

– Judi