Warrior Pose

From our students and DVD users....

I have often wanted to explore yoga, and actually did once, but was discouraged because I’m an average 48 year old woman with a full figure and the very fit women you see on most videos are very discouraging.  I’ve always known that deep stretching would be good for me.  I took a hard fall in the hallway at work and have been visiting my chiropractor on a very regular basis.  He suggested lower back stretches to help strengthen the affected area.  Doing a few stretches on the floor at home wasn’t exciting me very much.  I live in a fairly remote area and commute 50 miles to work and back each day.  Going out to a yoga class of skinny women after a long day wasn’t really what I was looking for.   I “Googled” “yoga for large women” and found Sally Pugh’s dvd,  “Expanding into Fullness.”  Sally’s dvd looked like exactly what I had in mind.  I ordered it immediately.  When it arrived two days later,  I slipped into my black stretch pants and a comfy t-shirt and popped it in the DVD player.  I was ready for whatever I might find.  The ladies on the “set” were average women just like me.  I was relieved from the start.    Sally’s approach was so sincere and natural, not scripted.  It’s a very well-produced video without being “commercial”.  It’s like they are all in your living room.  The moves are easy to perform, but it will take time to do them to the full extent that the ladies on the video achieve.  This is a very comforting video and not at all intimidating.  Sally seems like a comfortable friend when she guides you through the positions.  The 40 minutes fell like 15.  After a few sessions, I have better posture, feel calmer and look forward to my 40 minutes of attention to myself and my overall well-being.  I feel like I can “do yoga” like all the skinny, fit women in the world.   I later  “Googled” Sally Pugh and looked over her website.  I wish I lived in Berkely.  I’d be enrolling in her sessions.”
-Mary Blue, Thornville, OH

Walking to my car after tonight's class I felt so grateful for you--the tip on bending my fingers for extra support of downward dog, your spontaneous words that always deepen the postures and the meditation, and simply, the quality of your voice. You have such a unique way of being and every time I come to class, you impart gifts that reverberate long after the "Namaste."
-Lori Powell

The girl least likely to...do yoga.
I had a lot of preconceived ideas about what yoga was:
Yoga was for new age jerks who could not deal with the modern world.
Yoga was for lame brains who listened to bad music.
Yoga was for people who were looking for something that didn't exist.

But as it turns out, yoga was for me. It helped me relax and focus, it helped me make peace with myself and work my body in a gentle and ultimately loving way. Now I crave its pace and its strengthening. I am very grateful to Sally for making it a good experience. She didn't judge my attitude or my appearance - she just shared her knowledge and practice with me. It was powerful, healing, and authentic and I am thankful I got over my prejudice. I don't anticipate embracing crystals or Reiki but will not automatically dismiss them without trying them first.
-Jessica Lombardi

Creating More "Yes" in My Life by Cheri B.

What do I get from Sally's yoga class? It's amazing. Before yoga, my internal voice -- you know that internal dialogue with yourself? -- would tell me, 'No. No, you can't do that. You're not flexible enough. Your knees aren't strong enough. Your body will fail. You'll embarrass yourself if you try.' That's what I heard in my head whenever I was confronted with physical challenges -- even something simple like a flight of stairs. But in the supportive atmosphere of Sally's class, in the safety of being with other women similar to my size, and with the options she suggests about how to adapt a new posture to one's individual needs, I have learned to try. I have learned to be open to attempting something totally new. I have learned to gather my energy and concentration and allow my body to move in new ways. And I have learned, most of all, that I can succeed. I can do so much more than I thought I could. I am often surprised in class by being able to do more than I expected. This internal willingness spills over into my everyday life. I am now much more likely to tackle a physical challenge, and to think, 'yes, I can do this,' rather than protect myself from failure by not even trying. This positive attitude has had a subtle but meaningful effect on my life, far beyond the yoga class itself. (C.B. is a professional fundraiser for a progressive cause. She began doing yoga for the first time in her life at age 50.)

I Can't Imagine My Life Without Yoga By Ari-Asha Castalia

Yoga has changed my life and I can't imagine my life now without yoga...Sally's an amazing woman who has an incredible affinity for large women....I wouldn't be the yoga practitioner that I am today if it weren't for Sally and the way that she approaches the teaching.

I did not intend to like yoga. Actually, I was not inclined to like anything like yoga. I knew from my brief forays in the past with Kundalini in the mid 80's in a YMCA on white bath towels, interpreting for a Bikram class until I was so hot the clients suggested I leave for my own good, and a half class at a local gym, that yoga invited minute attention to individual muscles and asked participants to be in their bodies, aware and present, in an acute and moment by moment way. This was not good for me. I had spent my whole life working hard NOT TO BE AWARE of my body... More

I Wish this Lovely Feeling for More Fat Women Like Me by Marilyn Wann

I'm a fat woman who is healthy and fit, eats well and who enjoys being a fat rights activist. I admit I had a bit of resistance to doing yoga because it has become so trendy in San Francisco, and I often see very slim, fit, young women carrying yoga mats around, looking (to me) terribly virtuous. But I'm always eager to enjoy physical activity in a fat-positive, body-loving setting, so I attended the yoga session offered by Sally Pugh. During the very first two-hour session, I started to feel a bubbling kind of glee, perhaps joy, that was all out of proportion to the simplicity of the postures. I've done various kinds of dance and fitness classes, so the newness and effort of doing unfamiliar movements was fun for me. I'd find myself feeling tense in some body part or shaking with effort, and this amused me, in part because I viewed it as part of a learning curve, and in part because Sally's approach was so aware of and non-judging of suchoccurrences. After the very first session, I found myself feeling sure-footed, planted on the ground. It's a delicious sensation that I continue to enjoy during the week after my Saturday yoga class. Even after my first try at yoga, it seemed so much easier simply to stand. I had far fewer twinges of lower back pain or soreness. My legs felt bouncy, also at ease and not as likely to lock at the knee. Now, when I climb stairs, I feel more in alignment vertically and seem to rise up or descend more readily. I think I can trace most of these differences to the integration and equipoise and awareness I feel after doing postures and then returning to the standing mountain pose. Since that first class, I find myself bouncing on the balls of my feet. During my weekly aerobics class, I warm up faster, breathe more easily, and feel more energetic. During my weekly lap swim, my stroke is more efficient and I feel more in tune with the water. I feel a different, more elevated carriage in my torso. How is this possible? I don't know, but I'll keep going back for more. I can only wish such a lovely feeling for more fat women like me. (Marilyn Wann is a writer and speaker on weight diversity and fat liberation.)

Every Week I Discover More About Myself By C.W.

Yoga has been the best gift that I have given myself in the last few years. When I first began Yoga for Large Women, I was in so much chronic pain I could often only attempt the barest forms of the asanas. But little by little my pain diminished as my range of movement and strength increased. It was amazing how quickly I progressed. Sally is a remarkable and inspirational teacher. She creates a very safe, supportive, and collaborative environment where there is great freedom to explore adaptive yoga postures and learn what works for each individual. In her class, I have discovered beauty, grace, and strength in myself and in the women around me. During and after our sessions, I feel relaxed and energized mentally and physically. Every week I discover more about myself through yoga and look forward to continued improvement in my strength and stamina.

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." ~ Meister Eckhart
Call (510) 524-3832 or email SallyPugh@gratefulspirityoga.net
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