How can your overweight clients do yoga? - FitWell Content

Yoga for Overweight and Obese Clients

Blog Weight loss Yoga Reading Time: 7 minutes
BY: jacob wildman

Being overweight is not a contraindication for yoga. On the contrary, the ancient practice allows you to lose weight without exhausting workouts and harming your health if you know the intricacies of yoga techniques to the fullest.

Do not think that your body shape can generally impose strong restrictions! Remember:

  1. If your client has a goal, any obstacles are attainable. Simple yoga poses for weight loss are suitable even for beginners. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and then just start.
  2. Using the phrase “yoga for overweight people” is as incorrect as saying “for the slim” or “for the sick.” These activities are intended for all of us – there are no people who would not benefit from yoga.
  3. If the client’s goal is to lose weight, then weight loss yoga is a great choice. Even if the client feels comfortable and is completely satisfied with their weight, the exercises will help them strengthen their body, normalise breathing, and streamline their thinking.

How do you engage a client in doing yoga?

You should explain to the client the merits of yoga for people with excess weight. For overweight people, low-impact exercises such as yoga are in many ways less traumatic and more gentle than physical activities such as aerobics, running, free weights, and crazy group workouts created for people of average weight. 

In addition, during classes, the practitioner can always control the load on their own:

  • adapt the pose to their well-being (almost every asana has a light version);
  • use additional equipment;
  • regulate stress and well-being through different types of breathing.

Moreover, your clients do not need to have a high fitness level to start the practice – this is also a plus that can attract a client. After all, in this way, unlike group workouts, exercises on simulators, and aerobics, yoga for weight loss is also suitable for the those with less energy – it allows you to work in a gentle mode. These advantages are in many ways decisive for overweight people.

type of yoga

How do you choose the right type of yoga based on the client's weight?

Fitness yoga has a variety of breathing techniques and strength exercises – asanas, like in ordinary yoga. The complex loads in fitness yoga are created in such a way as to involve all muscle groups. Gentle yoga does not require special equipment. The bulk of the exercises is sipping and stretching and take place in standing, sitting, or lying positions.

The goals of fitness yoga are:

  • to increase flexibility, 
  • strengthen back muscles, 
  • correct posture.

Most of the training is done in static tension mode. It is achieved by alternating slow, smooth movements and complete physical rest, as well as proper breathing and relaxation. Such actions allow you to concentrate attention on specific body areas while mental effort is consistent with muscle activity. Muscle tension in static postures affects the central nervous system and the work of the heart and circulatory organs. People of different ages and health conditions have to do fitness yoga. However, some power asanas are contraindicated for overweight or obese people.

If your customer feels physically fit, then, of course, you can introduce any of the yoga poses.

Suppose your mentee has a health problem like shortness of breath, varicose veins, pressure, and so on, or they have never been involved in any kind of sport and had a sedentary lifestyle. In that case, easy exercises should be performed first.

Yoga poses for overweight people

These exercises aim to generally strengthen the body, improve blood flow throughout the body, and gently stretch muscles and tendons.

  1. Chair twist

Sit on a chair so that the back is to the side of the body. Press the entire surface of your feet to the floor, align your spine, and put your hands on your hips with your palms. Roll your shoulders back and down in a circular motion.

Inhale, and as you exhale, turn your body to the right, grabbing the back of the chair with your hands. Gently use your arms and the back of your chair as leverage, deepening the twist with each exhalation.

Hold the yoga pose for five deep breaths, return to the starting position, and repeat the asana to the left.

  1. Forward bend

Sit on a chair against the back of a chair. Press the entire surface of your feet to the floor, align your spine, and put your hands on your hips with your palms. Roll your shoulders back and down in a circular motion.

While inhaling, stretch your arms above your head, without raising your shoulders to your ears – pull them and your shoulder blades down. As you exhale, begin to bend forward as far as you can without rounding your back. If you find it challenging to keep your hands in the air, place your palms on your hips.

Take 3-5 breathing cycles, slowly returning to the starting position.

  1. Cat-cow

This versatile yoga pose is successfully practiced in general and specialised classes for pregnant women, those with excess weight, spinal injuries, etc.

Get on all fours: wrists strictly under the shoulders, knees at the level of the hips. Pull your stomach in so that the arch in your lower back is eliminated and your spine is in a neutral position but not rounded or arched. With a slow deep breath, simultaneously and smoothly pull your stomach to the floor, turn your shoulders, throw back your head, and lift your tailbone. Expand your chest and contract your shoulder blades.

Exhaling smoothly, round your spine, arch your lower back up, and vice versa, lower your head down, pull your chin to your chest, and stretch your neck.

Repeat the cat-cow pair 5 times, smoothly moving from one asana to another.

  1. Bridge Pose

It is an excellent gentle yoga pose for strengthening the buttocks and improving blood circulation in the pelvic region.

As you raise your hips and core, focus on using your core and glutes to lift with them, not with your arms. Hands rest lightly on the ground for support.

  1. Downward facing dog

If you are overweight, watch your breath during the asana, do not hold it. While holding the pose, take 3-5 calm and even breathing cycles. If you feel dizzy, immediately stop doing the pose, bending your knees and standing on all fours (you can’t get up abruptly).

yoga poses

How to make yoga poses more comfortable for your clients?

To make it easier for complete beginners to start training, you should take care of their comfort. To do this, you can follow our tips:

  • To facilitate the performance of asanas, use belts, pillows, blankets, and support blocks. Start with the simplest options: use the strap in gomukhasana (“cow pose”).
  • Choose asanas that are comfortable for clients to do: oddly enough, many obese people do excellent backbends and even sit on the twine.
  • The rhythm of the lesson should be slow, while holding asanas should be comfortable. This will reduce the risk of overloading the heart and blood vessels.
  • Perform standing yoga poses with support from a wall, chair, or blocks. For example, utthita trikonasana (“triangle pose”) and parshvakonasana (“stretched side angle pose”) are best done with your back to the wall and leaning on a chair so as not to lean forward and not squeeze your side.
  • If your client feels dizzy or short of breath during training, have them lie down in shavasana on their back or side with a roll under their knees. Their head should not be thrown back. If necessary, put a folded blanket under it.
  • Do not compare clients with anyone else and do not evaluate others. First of all, your client should feel comfortable and not follow anyone. Since this will only lead to a psychologically negative influence, accordingly, it will also affect the result.

This will help your clients feel more confident and willing to come to your workouts.


If you want your clients to get real health benefits from yoga and strengthen their body and nervous system, it would be better to do it 3-4 times a week. 2 times a week is a necessary minimum, and in this case, it will take longer to wait for results.

Yoga requires a special psychological and spiritual attitude, as well as an understanding of the ideology of the system. Otherwise, the lesson will perform the function of ordinary gymnastic exercises, which may lead to injury. It is possible to get a sprain, bruise, or dislocation.

The ideal option is to practice it daily for at least 1 hour – this is enough to keep you healthy. If it is impossible to practice every day, then you need to strive for a rhythm 3 times a week.

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