Review: Sally Pugh’s Expanding into Fullness, Yoga for Large Women

I am super new to yoga. I can count the number of times I have done a yoga session on both hands, I think.

I’m relatively flexible in some ways. My hips, for instance, are nice and loose. I can bend forward and touch the ground. The tops of my legs are flexible, too. I can sit criss-cross applesauce and I can tuck my legs under my body pretty easily.

In other ways–whoo boy. I’m so not flexible. My hamstrings, calves and ankles are as tight as a drum. So is my back.

Wow, so I guess the front of my body is flexy and the back isn’t. I wonder if there is something to that?

Also, I have crap balance. I can’t walk with my eyes closed without falling. I had lots of ear infections as a kid and through my teenage years as a result of spending half my life under water. I blame it on that. In addition to being a naturally off-kilter type, I also get serious motion sickness. For some reason, some poses trigger that in me. Like this boat thing, where you lay on your belly and lift your arms and legs. Blurgh.

I’ve also found that I’m intimidated by yoga classes. When I belonged to the YMCA in Las Vegas, I wanted to. Badly. But I was afraid of a) being 200 pounds heavier than what I assumed would be a lot of whip-thin women and b) being so unable to twist my body into the posses that I made a fool out of myself.

Now I don’t live within 200 miles of a yoga studio, or even an informal yoga class. I was super proud of myself for attending a gentle yoga class at the Y last time I visited, though. I hate being scared of anything. I plan to find a studio or something as soon as one is within reach.

In the meantime, I have found that this is this little treasure chest of yoga DVDs designed especially for bigger bodies. This gives me such a squeeze of glee, I can’t even tell you. It’s like the women leading the two I’ve tried (so far) opened their arms and said, who says you can’t do yoga? Let me show you how.

Sally Pugh of Grateful Spirit Yoga is one of these women. She’s made a DVD called Expanding into Fullness, Yoga for Large Women and she sent me a copy to review for you.

The positive first, because there is just so much of it:

1. There are five women in the recorded class. They are a nice full range of size diversity. (There is less age diversity, and no obvious racial diversity.)

2. Every pose in the DVD has at least one modification, and often more than one. So, for instance, in the jackknife pose, you can bend forward with your legs together, you can open them wider (this is what I did, and was shocked at how much more I could move into the pose when room was made for my belly) or you can do the pose in a chair. The modifications are made without fanfare, without any assurance that at some point you’ll be able to do more or not need the modification. I loved this.

3. All of the women in the class took turns demonstrating the modifications and the full, unmodified pose. I really appreciated this.

4. Sally Pugh has a lovely soft voice and described each pose so well that I did not have to struggle to watch the TV to see what she was doing. I was able to focus on the movement.

5. The music was non-intrusive.

6. This was a very gentle, thorough yoga session that left every part of my body feeling tingly and alive. I really liked the series of leg stretches at the end.

7. The DVD was professionally made and easy to watch.

8. I was able to do the entire DVD. I didn’t have have to use any of the modifications, except for widening my stance sometimes to give my belly room, but I believe that just about anyone could complete this DVD without any of the anxiety and negativity that can come with not being able to keep up.

There are only a couple of cons. In fact, I’m going to call them wishes, rather than cons this time.

1. The DVD is 40 minutes long, with maybe 10 minutes being meditation and warming up. I would love a longer option. (Maybe your next DVD, Sally? Pretty please?)

Yep, that’s it. My only complaint is that I didn’t want it to end.

One of the things I loved best is that my ever-present training partner, Ruby, was able to do the DVD with me. And she LOVED it. She’s already asked to do it again today. I can see Expanding into Fullness becoming a night-time ritual a few times a week.

And one of the best things? Sally’s studio is in Berkeley, which is just a couple of hours from Carson City. Which means it is conceivable that I might some day find myself near enough to take a class with her. And also? She hosts a yoga for large women retreat that I’ll definitely be near enough to attend next year.

I highly, highly recommend this DVD for anyone, but especially to anyone with mobility concerns. This would be an excellent first step toward being a defiant athlete for just about anyone.

Check out an example of the DVD here:

It costs $20 plus shipping. If you can afford it, it’s worth every penny.

NOTE: This DVD was sent to me to review for you. The opinions are totally mine.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Review: Sally Pugh’s Expanding into Fullness, Yoga for Large Women

  1. I like the idea of a defiant athlete. I like the idea that people of any size or mobility or ability can do things like yoga. I like that you talk about these things šŸ˜›

  2. I got this DVD as well a little while ago. (I bought mine) I am deathfat with mobility issues and meniere’s disease and I find it totally wonderful. I do it at least twice a week, and I think it’s really helping me gain some flexibility. I was super flexible when I was younger and it’s one of the things I miss the most. So I can back your review wholeheartedly.

    • I am so happy that you wrote this. I knew it would be great for someone with mobility issues, but I’m ecstatic to have someone confirm. Thank you!

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