The Indian woman defying body stereotypes through yoga

July 16, 2017

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 4 feet 11 inches (150 cm), weighed almost 90 kilograms (198 pounds) 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.

'Online trolls'

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.

"I completely ignore these things. You can't fight . I don't know these people so why should it bother me?"

Singh, who currently weighs 73 kg, says she will continue trying to sell "a more positive body image" and "challenge notions of fitness and beauty".

"I'm not aiming to have this thin figure but I am aiming to have a beautiful flow and make my strong through ," she says, smiling.

Explore further: Take a new view of yoga

Related Stories

Take a new view of yoga

July 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Want to add strength training, flexibility, and even stress reduction to your fitness plan?

Yoga connecting world, says Modi as millions stretch and bend

June 21, 2017
Yoga has connected the world with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday, as he rolled out his mat along with millions of others across the globe to celebrate the ancient practice.

Thousands of yogis search for serenity in Times Square

June 21, 2017
Thousands of yoga aficionados celebrated the summer solstice amid the neon lights and cacophony of Times Square Wednesday, searching for inner peace in the heart of New York on International Yoga Day.

Yoga more risky for causing musculoskeletal pain than you might think

June 27, 2017
Yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 per cent of people and exacerbates 21 per cent of existing injuries, University of Sydney research shows.

Millions stretch and bend as Indian PM leads world yoga day

June 21, 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described yoga as a "people's mass movement" as he took to the mat Tuesday along with millions of others in India and overseas to celebrate the ancient practice.

Recommended for you

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mitcheltyrone76
not rated yet Jul 16, 2017
My husband is 80 years and has been suffering from PD for the past 15 years. Lately he started hallucinating and I didn't know how to handle the situation. He cannot sleep and tried to find and catch the imaginary people who he thinks are real. he was taken Entacapone with Levodopa, Carbidopa, and Pramipexole and started physical therapy to strengthen muscles. nothing was really working to help his condition.I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor's knowledge) and started him on parkinson's herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, his symptoms totally declined over a 5 weeks use of the Parkinsons disease natural herbal formula.i read reviews from other previous patients who used the herbal formula, my husband is now active, he can now go about daily exercise!! his symptoms so much reduced that now I hardly notice them.Visit there website www. healthherbalclinicc. weebly. com or email Info@ healthherbalclinic. net

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.