Teaching Yoga for Round Bodies


  1. Adho Mukha Shvasana
  2. Ardha Matsyendrasana
  3. Balasana
  4. Bhujangasana
  5. Chandrasana
  6. Dandasana
  7. Dhanurasana
  8. Garudasana
  9. Janushirasana
  10. Jathara Parivartanasana
  11. Matsyasana
  12. Padahastasana
  13. Parvatasana
  14. Paschimotanasana
  15. Salabhasana
  16. Sarvangasana
  17. Sasamgasana
  18. Savasana
  19. Setu Banghasana
  20. Siddhasana
  21. Standing Backward Bend
  22. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
  23. Tadasana
  24. Trikonasana
  25. Ustrasana
  26. Utkatasana
  27. Vajrasana
  28. Viparita Karani
  29. Virabhadrasana
  30. Vrikasana

The Jackknife Pose (also Hand-to-Foot Pose, Standing Forward Bend)

A fat student will not be able to bend forward as far as a comparatively flexible thinner person, again due to the size of the belly. Bending the knees aggravates this problem, so be on the lookout for locked knees in your fat students.

Another related problem is difficulty breathing. Taking a deep, belly breath may move a fat student’s torso up a few inches, and then it will move down again with the exhale. This produces a slow undulation that I think is not harmful as long as it is not a bounce that would stress spinal discs or knees. Besides, it’s proof that your fat student is breathing correctly!

The fat person will be tempted to open the legs to accommodate the belly. This provides a legitimate stretch in itself, but not the same as Padahastasana. I therefore encourage my fat students to keep the legs at the width with which they perform Tadasana, and to think of lengthening the spine rather than bending over as far as possible.

However, I often have them perform the asana with legs wide apart afterward, to demonstrate both how the belly gets in the way in the proper asana and how well they can usually do the asana without belly problems. Obviously, this strategy could backfire if the student has difficulty with forward bends in general. Otherwise, it’s a fine morale booster.

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All authors are graduates of Ananda Yoga Teacher Training.

Ananda Yoga Registered Yoga School for 200 and 300 hours

About the Author

Kay Erdwinn, M.D., teaches “Yoga for Round Bodies” in Placerville, California.


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