How accessible are your yoga classes? While some of your formats may not be suitable for all, are you making sure you offer modifications when necessary? Be mindful of obese students’ needs so they feel more comfortable and can enjoy the many benefits yoga has to offer. Here is a sample modification for one common asana.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose relieves lower-back tension, gently stretches the spine, massages the abdominal organs, refreshes the legs and quiets the mind.

Traditional Pose. Sit in a kneeling position with the tops of the feet on the floor and the buttocks resting on the heels. With an erect spine, exhale and bend forward from the hips, folding the abdomen to the thighs. Lower the forehead to the floor and rest the arms alongside the body, palms turned up. Feel the motion of the breath against the thighs and at the sides of the rib cage.

Plus-Size Modification.If you can easily get down on all fours, open your knees and feet equally and as much as you need to as you push back toward the heels and drop the belly and chest toward the floor. (If the knees and feet are not equally open, it becomes a hip opener more than a back stretch.) The hands might need to go under the head, creating a pillow so the head does not feel it’s sinking into the floor. If the hands aren’t needed, relax even more by stretching both arms out toward the wall ahead of you, gently walking the fingertips forward until you feel a “little” back stretch. Now focus on breathing into your spine.