6 Yoga Poses for Curvy Beginners by Krystal-Thompson
As someone who offers body positive yoga to beginners, what I hear most requested by my students are modifications to make the yoga asana (poses) more accessible for their bodies. Everybody is unique so different bodies will need different modifications. And the truth is the reason we do the poses isn’t for their esthetic value (although I do think the poses are really quite beautiful), it is for the benefits they provide. If modifying the pose makes the pose accessible to more people then, even more, people can experience the benefits. This is how it should be. The benefits of yoga are for all to experience!
I invite you to try these poses and their modifications and see how they feel in your body. I hope the modifications make some of the poses even more accessible to you. Happy practicing!
1. Adho MukhaSvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
From a forward bend step one foot back at a time to come into an upsidedown V placing feet hip-width apart with second toes pointing forward and hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and middle fingers pointing forward, fingers spread wide. Keep the natural curve in your low back by hinging at your hip joint and tilting your pelvis forward. Relax shoulders away from your ears and create broadness in your upper back. Hold for two full breaths.
You can also do this pose using a chair to support your body and build strength and openness before coming to the floor.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra)
Lying down on your belly, place feet about hip-width apart with tops of the feet on the floor. Place hands with wrists under elbows and shoulders at about elbow height. Engage your core across the low belly and from pubic bone up to belly button. On an inhale, lift your chest and head into a small back bend. Relax shoulders away from your ears and create broadness in your upper back and openness in chest. Hold for two full breaths.
Come into baby cobra by staying lower to the floor
3. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Stand with feet 3.5-4 feet apart lengthwise on mat. Turn your right toes to top of mat and turn the left middle toe parallel to the back of the mat. Bend right knee so that it is over your ankle and the kneecap points forward. Reach arms parallel to the floor and relax the shoulders keeping the torso over the pelvis. Hold for two breaths and then complete the other side.
Try this pose using a chair under your front buttock for support.
From standing, bring weight into right foot, picking up your left foot and taking the sole of your foot to the inner calf and your knee out to the side. Reach arms overhead. Hug to the midline of your body by pressing your foot into your leg and your leg into your foot. Pick one spot to look at to help you maintain your balance. Hold for two breaths and then complete the other side.
Try tree pose keeping your toes on the floor.
5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)
Lying on your back, place feet hip-width apart with second toes pointing forward in alignment with center of ankle. Bring heels towards buttocks. Lengthen your side body by moving shoulders up slightly towards your ears. Take an inhale to prepare and on your exhale push into your feet to lift the hips, moving the sternum towards the chin and slightly lifting the chin away. Hold for two breaths.
Photography Credit: Tara Marchiori, Chasing Light Studio : Pants by Lineagewear
Try bridge using a bolster under your pelvis for support.
6. Savasana (Relaxation Pose)
Lying on your back, relax your inner thighs and groin, allowing the toes to turn out slightly. Place your arms at your sides in a slight V with your palms face up. Relax your senses by relaxing the tongue, jaw and all the muscles of the face. Let your eyes get heavy and even let your brain get heavy. Use a bolster under your knees to help your lower back and create space for larger buttocks.
If you have a larger chest, try using an angled bolster under your chest and head so that your head is higher than your breasts.