If you’re overweight or obese, yoga can be a great way to get in touch with your body and help you lose weight. Colleen Saidman, star of Gaiam’s new Yoga for Weight Loss DVD shares easy tips and suggestions for overweight people who want to start practicing yoga.

Don’t be afraid of props

Use blocks as an extension of your arms in most poses. Put blocks under your hands when stepping into a lunge and in standing forward bend. Put a block under the bottom hand in standing poses. Even when sitting, lift out of the waist by putting blocks under your hands and lifting through your waist. Blocks are valuable so that you aren’t restricted. If you feel restricted, frustration could set in and then you may abandon the very practice that you need. 

Mind your joints

The joints need to be supported. A lot of time, those with extra weight are flexible because they are sitting in their joints. We want to create more space in the joints (Satchidananda says that enlightenment feels like space in the joints), so go inside and see if you can find that internal space.

Ignore the person next to you

Don’t compete, or try to make your pose look like someone else who doesn’t have the same restrictions. Your benefits are no less that theirs. Remember the phrase “any amount”, Create the architecture that frees up the prana. Richard Freeman said that the most beautiful backbend he had ever seen was a 90 year old man standing in tadasana grounding his legs and lifting his chest and head in a way that was completely integrated. That integration and intimacy is what we are looking for.

Pace yourself

Be patient. Don’t give it all away. Save some for tomorrow because the most important thing is consistency. Iyengar says: “don’t let today’s practice interfere with tomorrow’s”. Don’t kill yourself one day and then do nothing for three. Look in the mirror and say: I love you. 

Purchase Colleen’s Yoga for Weight Loss DVD here.