Call it "Big Ass Yoga"
A FLUFFY OMELET OF LUST
Meera Patricia Kerr has been big since childhood. Even during a short run of relatively skinny - but still amply curvy - days around her college years, an admirer called her his "flufry omelet of lust." Kerr has always been comfortable with her body.
She's also long been comfortable with yoga. She spent her formative yoga years at Yogaville, the ashram of Swami Satchidananda in Virginia, studying integral yoga.The practice encourages spiritual unity, "an easeful body, a peaceful mind, and a useful life."
While Kerr loved the all-encompassing philosophy of the practice - from the selfless service of karma yoga to the devotion of bhakti yoga - her songwriter's ear struggled with the name. While meditating on the clunky "integral" title, she heard the practice called in a new, rumbling way: b-i-g yoga. And that, to her, suggested the complete philosophy of the practice, as well as an opportunity for overweight bodies to claim a full yogic experience of pranayama, meditation, and asana.
More than a decade later, in 2002,Kerr released the Big Yoga DVD, and her book, tentatively titled Big Yoga Hatha, will be published in fall 2008 by Square One Publishers. In the DVD, she offers an adaptation of the sun salutes that has been popular among larger yogis (you can see photographic illustrations at bigyogaonline.com - the Sample Pose page)
Kerr, now 61 and pushing 200 pounds at five foot three, continues to teach private lessons, along with mainstream and plus-size yoga classes seasonally, when summer residents return to her hometown, Saugatuck, along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Her primary practice these days is pranayama and meditation, but when she does her hatha practice, she says, "I feel so blessed, so elevated, like I'm in another realm of grace. The more I do, the better quality ofllfe I have overall, and I can be of better service to my students, to my mother, to my children - whomever I come in contact with."
Drawing on the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle, Kerr says her practice makes her feel that she is more of a blessing than a burden on the earth. Sage advice, to be sure - no matter what you weigh. - Jennifer Derryberry Mann is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor.
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