The Plus Size Yogi, Who Is Breaking All The Body Misconceptions You May Have

The birds are doing it, the bees are doing it, and yes we’re doing it too. No, we’re not talking about sex, but yoga, and there’s certainly no reason you can’t do it too. Yoga takes its inspiration from nature, from the animal kingdom, and it’s extremely natural; the truth is, none of us are naturally endowed with the bodies of Aamir Khan or Victoria’s angels, but that doesn’t mean we can’t practice yoga.

The discipline is characterized by its inclusivity, which means that the practice is easily adaptable to individuals of any fitness level. So, don’t be fooled into thinking yoga isn’t meant for you when you see super fit models bending twisting like pretzels in yoga videos. Yoga instructor Dana Falsetti certainly helps prove this point.

It’s been a year since I finished school, a year of living at home and traveling the world and sharing what has changed my life with so many people, more than I ever imagined. I never dreamed of reaching millions, I never thought so many people would connect with my own struggles and triumphs. It has been amazing and opened so many doors of opportunity. In the last year I’ve traveled to over 25 cities and 3 countries to teach and practice, and created online classes so we can practice together anywhere in the world. I’ve spoken in schools about eating disorders and body confidence, all while accepting and finding my own. Dozens of interviews, TV appearances, modeling gigs, guest blogs and more. I can’t say I’m not tired, but I can say I wouldn’t change it for anything. And now I’ve found love in my life, something I never believed I’d have. I’m moving out and into my very own apartment in just a month, and I’m continuing to find ways to share my message as honestly as I possible can. A year ago when I graduated I had no idea what would happen, no clue if I could make it as a yoga teacher, I was so scared of the unknown, of failing and being lost all over again. But that space has brought me to the wonderful place I’m in now, and I feel so incredibly thankful that I took the leap of faith to believe in myself and that others believed in me too. I hope the gratitude shows. Thank you thank you. All of you and the universe and my support system and myself. Photo by @michelesuits

A photo posted by Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees) on

How Yoga Helped Dana With Weight Loss And Self Esteem

Dana Falsetti firmly believes that yoga is great for everyone, no matter their size, shape, or levels of fitness. Weighing in at 136kgs, when in college, Dana battled self-esteem issues and struggled to shed the pounds with unsustainable fad diets that were invariably interspersed with binge eating. Although she eventually succeeded in losing over 30kgs, she still didn’t feel good about herself and was even more confused. Despair started to set in, but Dana decided to try something new when all she wanted to do was give up.

That’s when she found yoga. Yoga turned out to be a life-changer, as it changed her mindset and helped her push the limits.

According to Dana, the experience was truly liberating, but it wasn’t easy from the outset. She believed that her body would restrict her range of movement and she’d never be able to master the more advanced yoga poses. That however, did not stop her from trying – and once she mastered the poses, she realized that her body could no longer be used as an excuse to not attempt the practice.

This freedom from self-imposed limitations because of poor body image issues is what she wants to share with the world. Through her posts on Instagram she has managed to do just that, turning into a social media star and an inspiration for her 200,000+ followers.

Changing your surroundings won’t change you, but it can inspire you to change. I love to be alone, I always have, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to love it even more. My practice was at it’s best – meaning most consistent – when I lived alone. There’s something to be said for the energy around you impacting what parts of you come to surface. It’s no excuse, but sometimes we (I) allow it to be. Three days ago I moved into my new apartment, and to my surprise I have roof access to myself. The last tenant had the door covered over so I didn’t know it was there. My immediate thoughts were sunrise, sunset, and yoga. This morning I woke up and l went out to the roof to practice, and felt so free. Free to settle into my own routine, to make time for myself and my yoga practice amidst all the traveling and teaching and intertwining energy of others. Just when I feel like the strength is gone, I am reminded it’s always within me in so many ways. PS if you’re in the area and interested in privates, shoot me an email!

A photo posted by Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees) on

I learned something tonight as I meditated in a long savasana after class. As I thought back on the class itself, I realized I had no recollection of who was in the room, what they were wearing, what poses they did or didn’t do, what they looked like, nothing. I actually got my mom to come to class and I don’t think I looked at her for more than one moment of eye contact. I just wanted her to experience and I did the same. After class I realized there were two people in the room I knew, but I didn’t even notice them walking in as I chilled in pigeon before practice. It took a long time to be at this point in my practice, to be totally present and connected with every breath and movement, completely unconcerned by what’s going on around me. Its not always consistent, but It’s really amazing to give yourself that kind of attention. Early on in my practice I was fidgety with my clothes, always looking around the room, always wondering what I was doing wrong, and usually anxious waiting for class to start. Back then I was only present in my practice for a few scattered breaths, but overtime they add up to the entire practice and beyond that. And that’s when you really get to use that time for self-care, when you’re actually there for you without guilt, doubt, or worry keeping you from yourself. Photo by @cheyennegil

A photo posted by Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees) on

From being a teen battling obesity, to becoming a fitness icon for obese women, and men too, Dana has triumphed in the battle of mind over body. The next time you want to quit because you think your belly will get in the way of that yoga pose or because you can’t touch your toes, just have a little faith and take inspiration from Dana.

To get started with a yoga routine, you can also check out her online series called Making Shapes.

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