Tips for Doing Yoga When you are Plus Sized




Please note that I am not a physician or medical practitioner and cannot give advice on starting an exercise program. Check with your doctor before starting any sort of exercise regimen.

8 tips for doing yoga when you are plus sized

I started doing yoga a while back. I decided to do it because I often have stiff, sore muscles due to chronic pain caused by Lyme disease. It is incredibly helpful and since I can’t do many strenuous cardio or other exercises, it gives me a chance to get some healthy workout time in. It also helps me relieve stress as well as keeps me grounded. I have noticed that not only do I feel better physically, but it keeps me feeling positive as well.

One of the issues with doing yoga, though, is the fact that many of the positions are hard to do when you are plus sized like I am. Simply and bluntly put, my extra “stuff” gets in the way and I am far less flexible as well. This doesn’t stop me, however! Here are some tips for doing yoga if you are pleasantly plus sized like myself!

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Tips for Doing Yoga When you are Plus Sized

 

Get yourself a yoga mat. You definitely need one no matter what, but as a plus sized individual, I highly recommend one. Since it can be hard to hold the positions, and your joints may be in pain, you will need some extra cushioning for your yoga time. Yoga mats do not have to cost a lot, either. There are many great low cost yoga mats online that cost less than $10.

Drink plenty of water before and after you do your yoga session. Many people equate yoga with stretching and not really getting your heart going. This is false and I quickly learned this the first time I did it. I sweat a lot when I do my yoga and so I found out that it is vital to drink lots of water before and after my yoga session.

Listen to your body. Yoga can and will be uncomfortable at first, but it should never hurt. If you are finding that it is hurting too much to do certain stretches and positions, skip them or do what you can. With practice, you will get better.

Modify positions. You can modify some positions in yoga to make them easier for you to do. For instance, during Sun Salutations, when I get to the Swan Dive and the Standing Lunge, my belly gets in the way. I don’t try to move my body in a way it won’t. Instead, I don’t do the full lunge and I tuck my hands behind my back rather than forward to give my belly more stretching room.

Try out different sets and find ones your body works for. Don’t feel defeated if you can’t do some stuff. It’s OK! Try to remind yourself of what you ARE capable and not what you aren’t.

Get some good yoga clothing. Again, this does not have to cost a lot. I work out in cheap leggings and a cotton tunic top. I do recommend a great (not just good!) sports bra if you are busty. Many of the positions in yoga call for you to bend forward and a good sports bra will keep your (ahem) “ladies” in place.

Challenge yourself regularly. While you should not feel bad about not being able to do certain positions, you should also not deny yourself a challenge. Keep trying harder positions. You will get more flexible over time.

Do Partner Positions. These are great for helping each other achieve a goal and they allow you to support each other while trying to do some more challenging positions.

 

Do you do yoga as a plus sized individual? What are some of your tips?

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18 Comment

  1. Sidney says: Reply

    Hi Cristine,
    Thank for your suggestions for plus size ladies. This will help people to see that yoga is for everyone. We need more articles like this.
    Keep up the good work.
    Sidney

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Thanks Sidney! I definitely agree that yoga is for everyone. It truly is! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Christine,
    These are great suggestions! As a plus size girl, I was surprised to see how flexible I really am when I move my belly out of my way! I would also suggest taking a wider spread in the knees during child’s pose so our bottoms can settle down more, and really we can really stretch into the lower back. This also makes the position more restful, for us bigger ladies, as it is meant to be.

    Keep it up!

    Laura Kay

    1. Christine says: Reply

      That’s a great suggestion for the child’s pose, Laura! I find that taking wider spreads helps as well. Thanks for commenting! Love your suggestions.

  3. I agree with all of what was written earlier. I would have a little add-on to the subject
    Depending on your size will determine how Comfortable you will be on your yoga mat. Get an extra large yoga mat. Or too cheap yoga Let one overlap the other so you have the width that you need. Most yoga mats are so narrow that you have to bring your arms so close to your body that you won’t get i’m distance you need to support yourself.
    If you going to invest in yoga couldn’t get the sturdy ones. And use cheers & blankets, and stripe & start
    I would not get this all at the beginning starts slow follow your body follow your breath

  4. […] Yoga for plus sized girls is just sometimes awkward and not quite right. I know things get in the way and sometimes its hard to get into proper positions. This article gives you some great tips on doing yoga for plus sized women. […]

  5. Vicki Wiersma says: Reply

    Do you have a video you use?

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Body Positive Yoga on Youtube has some great basic videos. Her videos are specially designed for plus-sized women.

  6. Sara Clifton says: Reply

    I absolutely recommend props. Especially blocks!

  7. Claudia says: Reply

    Thank you very much Christine about your tips for plus sized girls. Im a begginner. Ill keep in touch.

  8. […] Check out my post on Tips for doing yoga when you are plus sized! […]

  9. Tracy L. Cotton (@TracyLCotton) says: Reply

    I love the topic and the comments – I wanted to add that yoga blocks and a yoga strap are my best “hacks” as a plus size yogi (lol). I also have been really patient with myself and continued to try the positions to the best of my ability so that with time I can do more now than when I began. My latest victory was nailing the camel. Some of it has been losing weight but I attribute more of it to consistent practice. My body surprises me and yet the beauty of it is that it is giving back what I am putting into it, which is attention and care! Namaste!

  10. I am 5’4″ and 213 lbs. I’ve been doing yoga semi regularly for two years after a ten year journey of wanting to do it. I was intimated and easily defeated by practicing yoga in 2001, but I didn’t know then that I could do it differently. Then I was diagnosed with arthritis and I knew I had to find a way to heal. I took a People with Arthritis Can Exercise yoga class at my local Y. It was taught with a healing, non competitive vibe. Also, the class was all senior citizens from new retirees to great great grandmas. It was a spiritual inspiration. After about 9 months, I moved on to the beginner yoga class which was taught by a new age hippie. She taught me to look at yoga differently. It’s not a competitive exercise where one strived to look like Christy Turlington. It’s physical, mental, spiritual. Getting in touch with yoursel. Finally, I discovered all of the plus sized curvy inclusive yoga sites online that has taught me modifications and given me a sense of a community. Now I add prayer and meditation to my practice. I’m still a chubby inflexible middle aged woman but my arthritis is improved, I feel more centered, and I sleep better.

  11. Cecilia says: Reply

    I have never tried yoga becuase of my size. I was really embarrassed about my weight, but I think I will take a class. Thanks for the tips

    1. amy says: Reply

      Oh man go for it. I am 5’6″ and over 300lbs, and did a lot of work at the gym. Yoga stuck in the best way. I have fewer problems with my back, and I carry myself much better.

      Tip (in general): take a class, like a physical class, at least at first. A good yoga instructor can show you modifications that you may not think of on your own. After a while, you’ll be able to figure them out on your own, but while yoga is great and awesome for you, it can cause injury of done improperly, and as I said, there are modifications you, as a beginner, won’t kniw.

  12. Gabe Olivier says: Reply

    I was glad to read your article as a plus size woman who has been doing yoga for over a year. I would also recommend yoga socks. I like Nike Studio Wrap. The socks allow me to not slip when doing poses such as Warrior. Also using a yoga strap when doing poses such as standing knee.

  13. Liz says: Reply

    This is a wonderful article! I’m 240 pounds and have been dealing with hip and lower back issues my whole life. Finally, I went to a chiropractor and started doing yoga regularly. A couple of tips. (1)Find a teacher you love and who gives encouragement and advice. Everyone needs to find a studio that is right for you and a teacher that is right for you. Try a class with every teacher at least once and see how you respond to them and how they respond to you.
    (2) Tell your teacher about your medical issues and restrictions. A good teacher will give you advice on how to modify the poses and will respect your limitations before adjusting you.
    (3) Remember that each class is your class and no one else’s, that’s how everyone else is going to treat it. Everyone has a different medical and physical history, and 95% of the time everyone else in the class is going to be too distracted to care if you have to take a knee or go into child’s pose rather than downward dog.
    (4) Let go of all your self-consciousness, close your eyes and BREATHE.

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