akkie58

Yoga as a smaller person

5 posts in this topic

Hello all,

Let me start off by saying that I don't have many friends or personal resources who understand a lot about yoga, or else I would've had a very in-depth and focused conversation rather than this. I am also newer to the yoga practice, I have tried it multiple times, but never fully committed to a structured schedule or routine. And, since this is the best resource I have found so far, I figured I would share my thoughts here in this forum.

I am a small person both in stature (about 5'1) and in overall build. Many times I have been told that I look "fragile" (even though I don't feel it) and there have been multiple occasions where people have hugged me rather delicately as if they were going to break me. I am still a strong person despite this, and I know that even though I am small, and consequently don't necessarily need to lose weight, I still want to be toned and fit. 

I burn most of my calories through running, and I have considered many other methods of exercise and getting fit, but I have problems with many of them. I have considered weight lifting, however, I do not really have the money to pay for a good lifting trainer (I have to save money to pay off college debt and other "wonderful" college expenses), and I don't want to lift without a trainer at the risk of injuring myself because of uncertainty in the practice. Furthermore, I don't particularly enjoy doing fast-paced exercise training videos with quick movements, as I easily get distracted and/or bored and lose focus on what I'm doing. I am also competitive and enjoy team sports, and as a result, I played college soccer for one year. However, I didn't get much out of it (due to the fact that I am a goalkeeper and coaches apparently don't pay much attention to 5'1 goalkeepers). I am planning to continue playing soccer for adult leagues and intramural organizations in my area, however, this is still too loose of a structure for the type of fitness I am looking for. 

The main point I'm getting at is that I haven't found an exercise routine that really fits with my lifestyle and how I want to feel from a physical standpoint. I am a small person, and I truly take pride in this, but like many other people, I want to stay fit and toned. I want to become stronger, and most importantly, I want to adapt to my small body size and use my size to my advantage to become a more fit and healthy individual -- to the best of my abilities. 

I feel like yoga is the best way for me to do accomplish my above goals, however, I would love to hear any of your opinions as well. I want to incorporate this practice into my daily life, but I do not necessarily know how, or where to begin if I choose to do so. 

If anybody has similar experiences or ideas, feel free to share as well; I am open to hearing anything, I just would love a little input from an actual yoga community. :)

yogafire and Hildegard like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello! I enjoyed reading your comment. One of my best friends from some time ago was 5 feet. Her height didn't mean anything to me, I never gave it a thought. I found when people say things about others it is more an indication of their own issues than the people they are talking about. I have had not so nice people call me fat others call me anorexic. I am not either and have always been the same weight. Their comments or actions have nothing to do with me and everything to do with their-selves.

Yoga can be a great exercise for staying fit and strong. Some types of yoga are almost the same as gymnastics (that's the ones I like:)) Some are slower and more focused on strength and alignment. And the people who practice this for a long time and become advanced look like Olympic athletes. I have the same problem as you. I have some interest in other sports but don't do them very much and get bored really easily with other things. But my interest in yoga only increases as time goes by.

We have a small community here but if you want more help we will do what we can. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 5'2" with a small frame, so I look bony in some areas. I do notice my lack of upper body strength when trying to do arm balances in my practice (still can't hold crow). But it's ok, it's good to have challenges. I enjoy doing binds, which is a body type advantage.

I think bodyweight exercises are good for building strength for small sizes.  At this stage push ups are very effective. I still do modified push ups on my knees, so don't feel like you have to do everything full blown like in videos. You can do them more slowly (harder actually) to make sure your form is good. You can also try filming yourself to check your form after the fact, too.  Candace had some HIIT workout videos that might give you some ideas (burpees are fun, but make sure to check out modified versions to start off with in which you just jump to plank).

Edit: strength can be unseen to the naked eye, so it may not look like you are getting toned, but yoga on its own will keep building up your core strength and balance.  So I am not visually making as much progress in my arm balances as I mentioned, but my studio teachers have commented on how much stronger my forearm stand and handstands are now, which I am doing against the wall with more control than before.  It's all relative and can be hard to see externally - enjoy the journey!

Hildegard likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a little taller than @yogafire (5'2.5") with a very leggy, twiggy body type. I do yoga to complement my horseback riding. Horseback riding and yoga overlap so much it's hard for me to say which gives me what individually. However, riding gives me an outlet for my competitive nature and my love of animals; yoga gives me an outlet to just be with myself.

Finding your best exercise takes time, but yoga is great for every body. Some of us just find pure joy in yoga; others (like me) need a faster, more heart-pumping (and, er, more dangerous) thrill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 5'3" and have always had really small arms, but larger more toned legs. People used to call my arms "flimsy." After practicing yoga for almost three years consistently and increasing the intensity for my upper body (practicing more arm balances, headstands, etc), I don't think anyone would say that anymore (*pats self on back). 

I say this because, for me, the muscle definition is very noticeable. I now don't have to flex as much for my muscle to be noticeable (not large, but toned) and even though my arms are quite small, they are definitely more defined than they ever were before.

I think yoga has been a big help for muscle definition all over my body, but in the arms it has been most noticeable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now