That's Megan Garcia pictured in the yoga pose sukhasana, and she knows what you're thinking. Fat, or words to that effect, and she'd be the first to agree. At about 210 pounds, the 5-10, size 18 model qualifies as obese on BMI (body mass index) charts. But can you do what she's doing? Garcia, owner of a Manhattan yoga studio, said anybody can with practice -- and a few modifications.
Take, for example, the spinal twist, a seated pose in which you turn your torso and neck to look over your shoulder. "If you have a big, fleshy stomach, it sticks out and touches your thighs. You have to actually hold your stomach and move it along with you," Garcia said. In the warrior, another classic pose, deconditioned students are allowed to hold onto two chairs for stability.
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Making yoga accessible to the overweight and those just off the couch, she said, allows them to build strength, flexibility, balance, concentration and self-confidence. "The message I give my students is kind of radical," she said. Instead of thinking about how they look, she tells them, "I want everybody to think like an athlete, to concentrate on what you feel." Garcia's new DVD is "Yoga: Just My Size."
-- Susan Morse