The best plus size yoga poses


Yoga is all about honoring your body through movement.

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“Your body, your practice.” It sounds like a simple mantra, but it can drastically change your relationship with yoga.

After all, in a yoga class or following a video, it’s far too easy to compare yourself to others and think there’s a right or wrong way to do a given yoga pose. But, in reality, no two bodies move in exactly the same way, says Natalia Tabilo, certified yoga instructor and founder of Yoga for All Bodies.

And while she encourages all of her students to “work with their bodies as a friend and partner,” unfortunately, many yoga instructors don’t offer enough variation for tall athletes. Jessica Rihal, meditation teacher and 200-hour certified yoga instructor at Everybody in Los Angeles and Joyn Online, recommends taking ownership of your practice. “Show yourself for yourself and your body and nothing else,” she says.

To do this, it helps to have a few options that you can turn to when a so-called “standard” yoga movement is not for you. So we chatted with Rihal and Tabilo about their favorite variations of wellness yoga for larger bodies.

The best yoga pose variations for plus size yogis

Movement 1: Child pose with blanket

Movement 1: Child pose with blanket

Image Credit: Jessica Rihal / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Place a blanket or pillow on the floor.
  2. Get on all fours with your knees on top of the blanket.
  3. Lower your hips behind you toward the floor as far as you feel comfortable. Extend your arms and let your torso sink down to the floor.
  4. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

You can also use a blanket under your cat-cow knees. Any pose that involves placing your knees on the floor will likely feel better with the extra cushioning, says Rihal.

Movement 2: Dog raised down

Movement 2: Dog raised down

Image Credit: Jessica Rihal / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Stand upright and place your hands in front of you on a raised surface.
  2. Straighten your arms and bend forward. Lower your chest between your shoulders.
  3. Keep your hips raised and heels against the floor.
  4. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

The downward dog is a fundamental pose that you will come across in almost any yoga class. Placing your hands on a raised surface like a chair, sofa, or block reduces stress on your wrists and hands, says Rihal.

Shot 3: Raised plank

Shot 3: Raised plank

Image Credit: Jessica Rihal / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a sturdy, raised surface.
  2. Return your feet to a plank position, arms outstretched and shoulders above your wrists. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

Just like with a downhill dog, placing your hands on an elevated surface for a board can be more comfortable on your wrists, says Rihal. By increasing the tilt of your body, it also reduces the weight on your heart and any lower back pain.

Move 4: Mountain Pose with a wide stance

Move 4: Mountain Pose with a wide stance

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or wider.
  2. Prepare your legs and core.
  3. Rotate your arms so that your palms are facing forward and let your arms hang down by your sides.
  4. Roll your shoulders down and back.
  5. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

“Tadasana, or mountain pose, is usually taught with your feet together, but if you live in a larger body, bringing the feet together only crushes the legs,” says Tabilo. So when you stand in the posture, just part your feet in the position that works best for you.

Movement 5: Laying the tree with a block

Movement 5: Laying the tree with a block

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Stand up straight next to a block or two.
  2. Shift the majority of your weight to the leg furthest from the block.
  3. Lift your opposite foot and place his toes on the block.
  4. Bring your arms above your head as comfortably.
  5. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

Instead of trying to bring your leg up to your pubic bone, give your leg more room to move with blocks, says Tabilo.

Movement 6: Low lunge with blocks

Movement 6: Low lunge with blocks

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Get on your knees halfway with two blocks in front of you on the floor and on the inside of your front foot. Stand on the blocks for balance.
  2. Once you feel stable, raise your arms above your head.
  3. Hold, breathe deeply throughout, and lower your hands onto the blocks as needed.

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advice

Using blocks, instead of placing your hands on the floor, creates more room for your abdomen and chest, says Tabilo.

Movement 7: Laying the boat with straps

Movement 7: Laying the boat with straps

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Sit down on the floor. Place a strap around the arch of the foot and hold the strap on either side of your legs.
  2. Squeeze your core to lift your legs off the ground at a 45-degree angle. Bend your knees if necessary.
  3. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

Adding a strap to navasana makes it more accessible. When you sink your feet into the strap, you use the strap as an extension of your arms, Tabilo explains.

Movement 8: Half moon with block

Movement 8: Half moon with block

Image Credit: Jessica Rihal / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Place a block or water bottle at the top of the mat.
  2. Facing him, place your left hand on the block and lift your right leg off the floor.
  3. Stack your hips and shoulders, opening to the right. Keep your right leg straight.
  4. If you wish, extend your right arm towards the ceiling.
  5. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.
  6. Switch sides.

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advice

Using a water bottle or yoga blocks in poses like a half moon or triangle help bring the ground closer to you, says Rihal.

Movement 9: Happy baby with strap

Movement 9: Happy baby with strap

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Lie on your back. Place a strap around the arch of the foot and hold both ends.
  2. Lift your feet up toward the ceiling and bring your knees wide and out to your shoulders.
  3. Gently pull on the strap, holding it as near or away from your feet as you feel comfortable.
  4. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

The strap serves as an extension of your arms, says Tibalo. This way to reach your feet you don’t have to lift your shoulders or round your spine to reach your feet.

Move 10: Fold forward sitting with wide legs

Move 10: Fold forward sitting with wide legs

Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo / LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out diagonally in front of you in a V-shape.
  2. Starting with your chest, bend your torso toward the floor as far as you can.
  3. Hold on, breathing deeply throughout.

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advice

Often times yoga instructors say to do a seated forward bend with your legs together. But to make room for your body, Tabilo suggests keeping your legs apart.



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