When you’re rocking some curves on your yoga mat, it’s helpful to know how best to make the practice work for you. That way, you can take any yoga class with confidence and peace of mind, knowing you’ve got your own back.
Here are 10 yoga tips for curvy ladies.
1. Before class starts, grab props.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else has, get everything you might want or need. I usually like to have 2 blocks and a strap at a bare minimum. If blankets and bolsters are available, grab one of those, too!
2. Step your feet wider.
Standing yoga poses are often instructed with feet together or hip distance apart. But when this base is too narrow for you, it throws off all your poses. So step your feet a comfortable distance apart, meaning a place where you feel stable and have a little space to move.
3. Drop you knee down to transition in Sun Salutations.
If you go to a class with frequent Sun Salutations, one of the big challenges is stepping forward from Down Dog to Forward Bend because your knee hits your belly.
Instead of stepping directly forward, first drop your back knee to the mat, lean towards it a bit, and then step your front foot wide of your belly and outside the corresponding hand. Once that’s landed, shift back center, tuck your back toes, and step the back foot forward so both feet meet.
4. Avoid boob strangle.
If your boobs come up to strangle you in forward bends (including Down Dog), take a moment to pick your head up and lengthen your spine. Now, tuck your chin towards your chest and then lower back down. Voilà, more length in the neck and less strangulation!
5. Move your belly.
If your belly feels compressed in any poses (especially forward bends and twists), move it! Bring your hands to the low belly and consider the following measures.
(a) Tuck the skin down in towards the hip crease.
(b) Pick the skin up out of the hip crease and let it land where it will.
(c) Move the belly a little to the middle.
(d) Do some combination of (a) to (c).
6. Make space for your booty
If your booty prevents you from lying on your back comfortably, try one of these options to prevent low back pain.
(a) Step your feet in towards your hips, press down through your feet, and lift your hips up just enough to gently tuck your tailbone, getting a little more length in the low back.
(b) Place a blanket or bolster under your knees, also lengthening your low back,
(c) Lift your head up an inch or two, bring your hands to the ridge of your skull, gently tuck your chin to your chest and place your head back down.
(d) Put a blanket under your head.
(e) Do some combination of (a) to (d).
7. Make your practice yours.
Yoga is about getting the poses to work for you, not the other way around. Keep your focus on yourself, your body, and on feeling good.
8. Go where you feel welcome.
If you ever encounter a teacher or studio that is less than accepting of curvy students in class, don’t let it stop you from practicing. There are too many kind and accommodating options out there to be slowed down or stuck at one that isn’t.
9. Ask for what you need
If a pose is being taught and it isn’t working for you, ask the teacher for another option. And if you don’t feel comfortable doing it during class, follow up after, when you can talk with instructor better.
10. Take up all the space you need
Feeling cramped, unstable, squished, or otherwise uncomfortable with a given pose instruction? Don’t stay there! Shift as needed and take up all the space you need.
You can totally make your yoga practice work for you, with the right tools and techniques to support your fabulous body and self! What other yoga tips for curvy ladies make it easier for you to practice? Let me know in the comments!
Credit / Yogi: Anna Guest-Jelley