DALLAS -- When Abby Lentz walks into a yoga studio, she scopes out her surroundings,
“The very first thing that happens when I come into a yoga class for the first time is I think, 'Where am I sitting? Where do I want to be?'” she said.
Before the stretching begins, it's all about finding the right spot.
“Do I want to hide out in the back? Lentz said. "Am I feeling more confident about myself?"
Lentz wasn't always confident that there was a place for her in a yoga class. While training to be a yoga instructor, she weighed more than 200 pounds.
“I was obese. I was the heaviest person in my teacher-training class,” she said. “And I felt very isolated and very left out.”
But she wasn't discouraged. Lentz modified poses, making them easier for heavier people to perform, and in 2004, HeavyWeight Yoga was born. It gives obese and overweight people a chance to experience yoga benefits like increased mobility, flexibility, and strength.
“My largest student in Austin is more than 500 pounds. She is totally bed-bound,” Lentz said. “And yet she is able to move and find parts of her body that she hasn’t moved or used in decades.”
Lentz has since lost 110 pounds, and teaches her techniques around the country and on video.
Saturday, Yoga Synergy Spa and Wellness Center in Garland will offer a free class. It will be the first HeavyWeight Yoga class taught by a certified instructor in North Texas.
“People come thinking, 'Oh, I want a flat abs or I want to be able to touch my toes,'” she said. “But people keep coming back because of the sense of well-being."
And they also have a sense that they have finally found a place where they, too, can belong.
The free class will be held Saturday May 31 from noon to 1:15 p.m. Beginners and people of all sizes are welcome, but people struggling with obesity or who are overweight are strongly encouraged to attend. The studio is located 125 Cedar Sage Drive in Firewheel Town Center in Garland.
For more information about HeavyWeight Yoga, go to HeartfeltYoga.com.