In her new book, Yes! Yoga Has Curves, yoga expert Yoga Dana A. Smith, aka The Yoga Diva, proves women of all shapes, sizes and skill levels should not to be intimidated by yoga.  The book displays beautiful photographs of a variety of women showing off their best poses.   So now, thanks to Dana, that you can no longer use your body type as an excuse to skip yoga, The Yoga Diva has some great tips on how to get started.

Understanding The Art: 

Yoga is an ancient health system that originated in the East over 5,000 years ago.  The word yoga came from the Sanskrit word yuj which means “to unite or integrate.”  The ultimate goal of yoga is to form a balance between mind and body, and to attain self-enlightenment.
To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath (pranayama), postures (asanas), relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, lively and balanced approach to life.
Finding The Right Class:
For those new to yoga finding a yoga class isn’t an easy feat.  With so many options the process of finding something just right may seem intimidating and overwhelming.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself when looking for a class:
 1. What are your goals?  Do you want more flexibility, strength or is there a specific physical or mental concern you need to manage?  This is helpful in choosing the right yoga style.  There are hundreds of different styles that speak to various needs.
 2.  Where do you want to practice?  Would you prefer to practice closer to home or work?  Consistent practice is key so choosing a convenient location is key.
3.  What type of setting are you comfortable in?  Is a studio setting or gym ideal?  Both offer great benefits depending on what type of crowd you feel comfortable around.  Studio classes may be smaller and more intimate than classes held in a gym setting.
 4.  How much am I willing to invest in classes?  Yoga is best practiced on a consistent basis and it is advisable to practice at least once a week so setting a budget is helpful in deciding where to practice.
 5.  Am I more comfortable with a male or female teacher?  Yoga is a healing journey and it is important to choose a teacher that you feel comfortable with.
Yoga is for EVERYbody and there are options.  If you don’t find what you are looking for right away don’t give up!  With a little research and patience you can find the right fit for you.
Dana is the author of  Yes! Yoga Has Curves and the founder of Spiritual Essence Yoga & Wellness Studio.  To learn more about Dana, check out her website: