In­dian woman de­fies body stereo­types through yoga

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Mumbai, In­dia - A plus-sized In­dian woman is chal­leng­ing body stereo­types and de­fy­ing In­ter­net trolls with a se­ries of yoga videos that are prov­ing a hit on so­cial me­dia.

Dolly Singh (34) has gained some­thing of a fan fol­low­ing on­line for pro­mot­ing body pos­i­tiv­ity by show­ing that size is no bar­rier to mas­ter­ing com­plex yoga moves.

“To say ‘You can’t do this be­cause you have so much weight’, I don’t be­lieve that,” Singh tells AFP af­ter com­plet­ing her morn­ing stretch in a Mumbai park.

Four years ago a doc­tor ad­vised her to lose weight fol­low­ing an an­kle sprain. Singh, who is 150cm, weighed al­most 90kg at the time.

She got a trainer and em­braced the ‘whole frenzy of los­ing weight’ but grew bored of run­ning so she signed up for some­thing she’d never done be­fore - yoga.

“The first class I was think­ing ‘Can I re­ally do this be­cause I have a big body?’ Af­ter two or three class I re­alised peo­ple were look­ing at me and think­ing ‘Oh my god she can do this’. My body had a cer­tain kind of stamina, of flex­i­bil­ity.”

Singh, who works for a TV chan­nel in In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal, soon re­alised there were lim­i­ta­tions to group classes and sought the in­struc­tion she needed from videos on­line.

“We all have dif­fer­ent bod­ies and if my teacher doesn’t have a belly, how will they know what the prob­lems are of hav­ing a big belly,” she ex­plains, laugh­ing.

“I’m a big busted per­son and if the teacher isn’t how are they go­ing to un­der­stand that when I’m do­ing a Halasana (plough pose) I’m al­most chok­ing to death!”

Singh started film­ing her­self to mon­i­tor her progress and then be­gan post­ing clips of her yoga poses on In­sta­gram.

Soon she was in­un­dated with mes­sages, mainly from for­eign­ers at first but then from In­dian women say­ing that Singh was an in­spi­ra­tion to them.

“I’ve been over­whelmed by some peo­ple say­ing they would feel alienated in a room full of per­fect yoga bod­ies, how they would feel that ev­ery­one is watch­ing them.”

“There’s an idea of not show­ing your body if you’re big bod­ied. You’re sup­posed to hide ev­ery­thing be­cause its not ap­peal­ing or it’s not some­thing peo­ple like to see but that’s just some­thing that’s been sold to us,” she in­sists.

The re­sponse hasn’t all been pos­i­tive how­ever. Singh says she has been the vic­tim of body sham­ing on­line.

“In­dian men have not been en­cour­ag­ing at all. There are a lot of peo­ple who write very nasty com­ments. They would say some­thing like ‘You’re just a fat blob, you look just like an ele­phant or bear, or you’re un­fit or it's be­cause you’re eat­ing so much food.”


Dolly Singh does yoga at a park in Mumbai

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