When you think about yoga, you traditionally think about skinny women stretching on the beach. Before this year people would never have thought about a plus size woman or a fat girl being a yogi. But, 28-year-old fat happy girl Valerie Sagun is looking to change that by showing the world that plus-size women can do anything, including yoga.
As part of the JCPenney’s #HereIAm, Sagun recognized that she does not fit the idea of the traditional yoga standards—but that fact has never stopped her from doing what she wanted. Besides practicing yoga, though, Sagun is also known for her blog Big Gal Yogi, an artist, a self-love, and body positive enthusiast.
For Sagun, yoga started as a way to help her get through depression, which she fell into when she hit a block on her art studies. When she was not attending classes, she was attending yoga sessions led by experienced yogi Lawrence Caughlan. Sagun explained that Caughlan helped her a great deal by showing her a positive outlook on yoga, and making it clear you did not have to be skinny to practice. He also showed her that with a little love, patience, and motivation, yoga is something that anyone can do.
She went on to finish earning her Bachelor’s degree in Spatial Arts, but she had no intention of giving up yoga. After having grown to love it so much, Sagun decided to become a certified hatha yoga—a type of yoga that is designed to help align the practitioner’s skin, muscles, and bones—instructor. She wanted to help show other women that you do not have to fit the traditional yoga image; that you can be a fat happy girl and still be a yogi.
During all of this, Sagun took to sharing her yoga journey and accomplishments on her Tumblr blog, which quickly gained thousands of followers. Those followers then encouraged her to join Instagram, which led to the creation of Big Gal Yoga. Her account now has thousands of followers and admirers and she has been featured on countless sites. Women everywhere are looking to her for inspiration and encouragement to follow their dreams and never let anything stop them from trying something new.
She hopes to eventually be able to travel across the United States, giving yoga lessons and inspiring women to not be afraid of yoga. Like so many women, her person journey is not done—the more she does yoga, the more she learns about herself and her body, which is a big reason why she loves yoga so much.
Valerie Sagun is just another fat happy girl that is defying the odds and showing the world that there is nothing plus size women cannot do. She admits that it can be daunting at first, but if you are willing to set aside your fears, you can find yourself learning more about positivity and self-love. She encourages women from all over to never let someone tell them they cannot do something because of their size. So, if you want to do yoga like she does, then do yoga!