Yoga practitioners have taken on the stereotype of middle-class, fit, white moms who sling their mats over their shoulder on their way to drop the kids off at school and have a pair of Lululemons for everyday of the week.  As a spiritual practice that began with the Brahmans and Rishis of ancient India, it’s funny how today’s yoga has been turned into another #basic activity. The idea that yoga is for the thin women (and that one eccentric old dude) can make it difficult to go to that introductory class at the gym. But Valerie, creator of Big Gal Yoga, is changing the image of today’s yogis and showing off her bod to promote self-love and body positivity. 

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With inner-peace, balance and tranquility as some of the main aims of yoga, it makes sense that practicing it would be a way to exercise self-love. Boasting an Instagram account with more than 113,000 followers and a GoFundMe that has raised almost $4,000 to send her to yoga teacher training, Big Gal Yoga is definitely inspiring people to accept their bodies in a brave way by putting hers in the spotlight where it belongs. Valerie said in an interview with Body Positive Yoga that she has had people with eating disorders reach out to her for advice on confidence. 

“I used to be weirded out of the thought of other people seeing my body, but now I fully embrace and enjoy that people like myself are loving their bodies,” Valerie writes on the Big Gal Yoga blog.

Valerie, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is half Filipino, half Mexican, and started practicing yoga in college. She continued to practice in a studio afterward. 

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“Being in an actual yoga studio is a great experience…I think that’s why I usually recommended starting at a studio,” Valerie writes on the Big Gal Yoga website. “Though I understand that it can be intimidating, I hope that everyone can have the courage to go out and have a good experience at a studio.”

 

Big Gal Yoga shows that yoga is for everyone, and Valerie’s journey through her practice is one that is challenging body stereotypes and promoting an incredible message of self-love, one lotus pose at a time.

Photos via Instagram/BigGalYoga.

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