More to Love Yoga opens up a new practice

On April 6, 2016, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Haley ED Houseman

Rachel Estapa’s More to Love Yoga classes are bringing body acceptance awareness to the realm of personal fitness and health.

Rachel Estapa’s More to Love Yoga classes are bringing body acceptance awareness to the realm of personal fitness and health.

To the uninitiated, yoga can seem the purview only of fitness gurus twisting themselves into pretzels, or pushing up into handstands. While yoga classes fall across a wide spectrum of practice, from quiet mediation to more intense and sweaty bikram, classes and their teachers are usually one size fits all. Rachel Estapa is on a mission to bring the benefits of yoga to all kind of bodies. Her classes, called More to Love Yoga, are geared toward an audience that doesn’t feature in the considerations of most yoga classes, where practitioners can be intimidatingly flexible and fit.

The brand More to Love grew out of Rachel Estapa’s own desire for body acceptance. “As a larger girl growing up, weight loss was my ‘goal’ – but no matter how hard I tried, nothing lasted for long. In my early twenties, exhausted from this routine, I realized that perhaps I wasn’t some problem to be fixed.”

Estapa has been practicing yoga for nearly a decade, and noticed she was often the largest woman in class. She learned to make poses work for her body, and to accept her body as a yoga body in its own right. Yoga became a powerful tool on her own journey to body acceptance. Now, feeling comfortable in her own skin, she wanted to bring her approach to others. Says Estapa, “Each day, I focus on doing something kind for my body and self and I feel so much more empowered in my own skin.”

The body positivity movement has a strong ally in Somerville with More to Love. ~Photo courtesy of Rachel Estapa

The body positivity movement has a strong ally in Somerville with More to Love. ~Photo courtesy of Rachel Estapa

Estapa also became a certified life coach in 2011, drawn to the field of self-help and education. When she created More to Love, she wanted to apply the approaches of her life coaching to body acceptance. To create a sense of community, she created the More to Love Course, an e-course to train women on ways to increase their body-acceptance. The class has been run for three years, and hundreds of women have participated. She sees potential to develop the More to Love Course into a self-guided workbook and publish it. “I have lots of ideas on ways to help more people feel positive about their body, no matter their size!”

To kick off More to Love Yoga, she trained last summer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. She immediately began selling out the classes, specifically geared toward bodies that may feel outside of a yoga practice they don’t see themselves reflected in. She explains, “I spend a lot of time helping those in my yoga class feel safe and like they are part of a community – because they are. One of the pillars of More to Love is that body-acceptance is contagious, so when you do it you help inspire someone else through your actions. I believe this and I’ve seen it happen for years now.” As classes sell out and the community grows, the demand for welcoming classes is clear, and Estapa would like to build on it, developing more MTLYoga classes and do a retreat to the Kripalu center as well.

The body positivity movement forms a large community, often most visible online. “As I personally grew in body acceptance I found other people who were advocating the same thing – mainly online – and as More to Love grew into a business, I value communities where people can explore body acceptance in a safe, trusting and light-hearted way.” Recently profiled on the TV show Chronicle, More to Love Yoga is now taught weekly at the Somerville Arts at the Armory, with advance registration required. Estapa recently added monthly yoga workshops to the More to Love offerings,which feature in depth engagement with her yoga approach to body positivity The next workshop is on April 23, with details on the More to Love website: http://www.moretolovewithrachel.com.

 

more_3_web

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.