Yoga-enthusiast Dolly Singh is shattering myths around thinness and yoga, one move at a time.
Like a lot of enthusiasts in the city, Dolly Singh steps out of her Bandra apartment every morning for her daily dose of fitness. As she sets up her laptop, tunes-in her speakers and lays down her mat at a nearby park, visitors meet her with curious glances. Well, it is not very often that they see a voluptuous lady practising the most difficult yoga asanas like a pro.
A home-chef and a media professional, 34-year-old Dolly is a self-confessed foodie. Her introduction to yoga was quite accidental, Dolly explains, after being advised by her doctor to lose weight following a foot injury around six years ago. She shares. “I’m 4 feet 11 inches and used to weigh almost 90 kg. In a bid to lose weight I tried running, zumba, and pilates. But nothing really clicked. While I did lose weight, I wasn’t able to sustain it for a long time.”
She stumbled upon a yoga class once, and since then swears by the benefits of the art. She noticed immediately that she was bigger than most of her classmates. “After a week, I realised that I could do the postures way easier than everybody else in the class. People started saying things like, ‘Look at her, she can do it so well.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ But I always felt the elasticity of my body. I felt like it was a rubber band and you could really stretch it. And I liked the challenging process. That’s what happened with yoga. I realised that my body was very flexible and when I was able to finish the most difficult moves like a pro, people around me were surprised. They never would’ve thought that a heavy-bodied woman like me could also be flexible,” she says.
Dolly was way ahead of her fellow yoga batch mates and soon realised that she had to practice the rest of her lessons on her own to match up to her own pace. “I was surprised to know that my body was so flexible. I also realised that though I was round, I was very strong. Eventually, I had to look to yoga to vent all the emotions out.”
She then took her yoga out in the parks as that’s exactly what parks are meant for, “People can walk, run, skip and jog in a park then why not perform yoga? Initially, I was sceptical that people might have a problem, but eventually if people can be allowed to kiss in a park then why can't I do yoga,” she laughs, nonchalantly.
A self-taught yoga practitioner, Dolly believes that visibility leads to acceptance. “Just because I'm big-bodied, why shouldn't I be allowed to wear certain kind of clothes, walk a certain way. Society is used to seeing people in a certain light and this what needs to change,” she says sagely.
Yoga, for her, is not just about losing weight, “We live in a country that has deep roots of patriarchy, and every day we hear someone telling us how to be. ‘Women should do this, they should not do that, be this, not be that.’ In times like these, it gives me a sense of confidence and empowerment as a woman,” signs off Dolly.
A common goal amongst people taking up yoga is to master the final postures and believing that you need to be of a certain body type to be able to perform the asanas, which is just not true. When it comes to performing asanas, it’s the flexibility of the body that counts irrespective of the body shape or size. So it’s not surprising to see relatively fatter people being able to do the postures equally well or even better than their thinner counterparts. Again yoga does not prescribe mastering any posture, that’s not the aim. Also, yoga goes beyond just the body. Anybody looking for peace, tranquility can benefit from doing the asanas, breathing exercises and meditation which clearly does not restrict you to being a certain body type.
— Mickey Mehta