More to Love Promotes Body Acceptance Through Yoga

The healthy living community started offering yoga classes in August.

More to Love yoga

A More to Love yoga class. Photo by Emily Cassel/Scout Somerville

For years, Rachel Estapa would look around her yoga classes and realize she was the largest woman in the room. But instead of rolling up her mat for good, she decided to change the perception of what a “yoga body” looks like.

Years after founding More to Love, a community that celebrates body acceptance and health at any size, Estapa began offering yoga classes open to students of all shapes and sizes in August of last year. Now, she says, nearly every class sells out, and they attract people from as far as Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—and people of all body types, ages, and backgrounds.

“The common theme is that, ‘I felt welcome in that class, I felt like I belonged in that class,'” Estapa says. “This is a community, you’re welcome, and there’s a social aspect that’s forming organically around the members that come each week.”

More to Love classes aren’t about who can complete an arm balance or who can get the best workout; instead, Estapa says, they focus on body acceptance, confidence, and good vibes. “It’s not this intense ambiance of yoga studios,” she says. “I play upbeat music and I’m silly and I talk about bellies, I talk about what you do with your butt. I really take pride in having people be able to have a visceral body experience with themselves.”

Estapa admits that More to Love has caught some flack from critics who say it promotes obesity—less so, however, now that the body positivity movement is gaining steam—but she says the naysayers miss the point: that health and happiness can be found at any size.

“At the end of the day, this is about feeling good,” she says. “Whether that’s in a larger body or a not-so-large body, people want to do things that make them feel empowered, and that’s really what I’m trying to create with More to Love.”

$18, Sundays, 11 a.m., Somerville Armory for the Arts, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville, A yoga essentials workshop will also be offered for $40 on 2/27.