Body Positive Yoga Workshop

Sun Salutation modifications for plus size bodies

Judging from the comments on my call for questions about modifications for sun salutations, I’m not the only fat yogi who runs into a couple sticky spots during surya namaskar.

I’ve put together a short video that shows several modification options for sun salutations including:

  • How to prevent your boobs from suffocating you
  • Making more room in forward folds
  • Getting your hands to the floor (or blocks)
  • Options for plank, lowering to the floor, and the backbend
  • Down dog alternatives
  • Getting your foot forward into a lunge from downward facing dog

Watch the video

Want more help with sun salutations?

A big thank you goes out to my friend Lisa Meer, one of my yoga teachers, who helped me with filming and also demonstrated a lovely sun salutation without modifications at the beginning of the video. Lisa has put together her own video on the classical variation of surya namaskar and she really breaks down each pose. I recommend watching it to get some great direction on refining each pose.

I’d love your feedback

Did I miss anything? Did you try out the modifications? How did they work for you? Did you like the boob-strapping trick? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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I'm Amber and this is my blog about yoga, body acceptance, and making friends with yourself in the process! Like what you're reading? Subscribe via RSS or receive posts by email. Want to be the first to know when I do something awesome like teach a class or publish an eBook? Then the email newsletter is for you. Or, just follow me on Twitter.

43 thoughts on “Sun Salutation modifications for plus size bodies”

    1. Hey Amber. I love this so much. You are so incredibly helpful to me and my teaching to put this online. I look forward to facilitating my student’s in their yoga practices to the next level with your e-guidance :) Take care.. Namaste!

  1. ps – did I mention how I my dream is to have all of us curvy yoga teachers to get together and have a weekend of yoga together? your video just made me want to do that more.


  2. Thanks Amber! Now, I might try Yoga. I have been to afraid of hurting myself giving my current weight. I didn’t really think that Yoga was practical for me.

  3. Great demo, especially “no props” section! Thanks for inspiring more home practice. Second on the motion for a retreat.

  4. Hi Amber, this is a brilliant post! I’ve just watched your video and realized how useful it can be for someone who has a larger body and suffers from joint problems (someone like me). I loved your first section on the boobs, I never would have thought about that and now I can actually try plow without suffocating!

  5. Thank you, Amber, for this super helpful and detailed video. You are a great teacher!! I especially appreciated the section on the lunge. This was motivating and inspiring to watch. 😀

  6. Thank you so much for this! I’m doing my teacher training next month, and this is a great resource to have for when I begin teaching. I really would like my classes, and (hopefully) (eventually) my studio, to be a space that welcomes all skill levels, all motivations, and all body types.

  7. Thank you so much! I found you after searching for advice on a low lunge. I’ d been getting increasingly upset about how much I struggle with lunges. I think I’ll be doing as you do and staying on one knee instead of grappling with blocks and discomfort doing it ‘normally’. Much love xx

  8. OMG thank you for posting this I want to cry. I used to do yoga as child and after years of health issues and MULTIPLE surgeries, sedentary traction, leading to sedentary lifestyle, deterioration of muscle, gaining weight, weight gain to obesity for the first time in my years of athleticism…everyone is telling me “you should do yoga” as if you don’t feel yoga. Even the lotus is painful for me now. But do to my roots I have been wanting to start the Salutation to the Sun! :-)

    Now I can! Thank you

  9. Amber,
    i LOVE your site. I’m finishing up a 200 hourYoga school and have a non-traditional yoga body. It’s been really frustrating having to kind of find things out on my own during training. When I start on my 300 hours worth of training I would love to take a workshop or shorter intensive that really delves into working with a curvier, rounder, heavier physique. In addition to the rounder female that I’d like to teach, I think a lot of bulkier men (including those who are ‘in-shape’) would really thank us.

    Keep up the great work!


  10. Thank you so much for this wonderful resource! I’m a yoga teacher and have found such little material for people of different body sizes (other than extra small). Please keep it up! Namaste.

  11. It was great to learn your mod positions for yoga, I will be sure to put them in my rotation. Also, I noticed your beautiful arms – thick, rubenesque, soft. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I was looking at arms nearly identical to my own hated body part. Thank you so much for just being your beautiful self and giving me a ray of hope.

  12. Thank you SO MUCH!!!! My best friend is a yoga instructor and we’ve been working on modifications for me in her class. There were some great ideas in here that will help me as I’m losing weight. Someday, my belly won’t impede my movement, but I’m meeting myself where I am and loving me. Thanks again!

  13. This is SUCH an invaluable resource! Thanks for showing how sun salutations can be for every BODY. Any plans on doing a moon salutation video? I’d love to see that and know many of my clients would find it helpful too.


  14. Thank you so much for this video. I always felt a bit clumsy for not being able to do everything during sun salutations, especially not getting my foot back to the front after downward dog. Your video not only made it easier for me to step forward but made me feel better when sometimes it might take me more than one step to get there. I know that yoga is about my own journey but this video helped to remind me that my journey can still be tailored to me and meaningful :)

  15. Thanks for posting this. I’m a plus size yogi myself and I’m just finishing up my 200 hour teacher training. I’ve found my way to do my own version of sun salutation over the years, but I found some new ideas from your video. Thanks!

    One question – In the version of yoga I’m studying (vinyasa), we go from downward dog to forward fold. This is the one step that gets me stuck every time. My extra tummy fluff gets in the way and I have difficulty stepping my feet up to the front of the mat. Strange thing that I have no problem going from forward fold to downward dog! Any thoughts on how to make this a little more elegant and flowy?

  16. Excellent!! For obvious reasons the boob thing didn’t do much for me but the rest of of it was spot on. They really need more wide body yoga (my term) – I’m just getting interested and the vast majority of material feature thin doing thing that would just be dangerous if I tried them.

  17. This is amazing, thank you soooo much. I love yoga but am constantly frustrated with my chest hitting me in the face and my lack of ability to move from plank to chest and chin on the floor without first dropping my hips always frustrated me and ruined my positive meditative state of mind when practicing. Thank you for the video and post, I feel much better about having to drop my hips!

    Keep up the amazing inspirational work!

  18. Thank you SO MUCH for this site, this video, everything. You are the first link I found when I googled “downward facing dog makes my wrists hurt”. I have carpal tunnel so I was expecting something on that, but imagine my delight when I found a body-positive yoga site with a curvy yogi! You really made my day. Thank you! <3


    I haven’t read every comment but I’m wondering if you have bra suggestions to help with this issue?



  20. Awesome – thanks Amber! I always have trouble going from downward dog to lunge… Any tips for if you don’t have a block handy? I think my hips may be too tight…

  21. As a fellow yogi and healthy body activist, I enjoyed reading your site and applaud the shared efforts, perspectives and experiences of our bodies in this practice. I’ve taught Yoga For Abundant Bodies and Brooklyn, NY, attended NoLose workshops in Portland, Oregon and fully enjoy meeting other like-minded people who continue to learn the journey of yoga in the body they’ve been given.

  22. Thank you so much for this beautiful video. It takes a lot of courage for plus size people to domonstate but the truth is yoga is all inclusive and those of us with flat chests NEED to learn how to instruct and help those who are blessed with more. Thank you for the great ideas. Keep them coming. I hope you do more videos. I currently work with several women who are working to loose weight. I know that movement in general can be very difficult and especially transitioning from downdog to standing or seated to standing so anything that makes it easier would be helpful <3 NAMASTE and thank you!

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