Sign up now for Yoga Journal’s new online course Inclusivity Training for Yoga: Building Community with Compassion for an introduction to the skills and tools you need as a teacher and as a student. In this class, you’ll learn how to better identify student needs, make compassionate and inclusive language choices, gracefully offer pose alternatives, give appropriate assists, reach out to neighboring communities, and expand and diversify your classes.
Yoga can be a wonderful way to connect with, learn from, and appreciate your body as it is today. That’s really only possible, though, when poses make sense and work for all of your body—not just the muscles and bones.
One of the ways we can support ourselves (or, for teachers, our students) is to acknowledge that body parts, such as the belly, exist and affect yoga poses. Here, we’ll focus on making space for the belly, one of the parts of the body that people are often most uncomfortable with. Of course, that’s not too surprising given all of the messages we receive telling us to get rid of, disguise, restrict with clothing, or otherwise reject our bellies.
Making space for your belly in yoga poses is a way to both welcome your whole body into your experience as well as make your poses more comfortable. We’ll explore three key ways to do that. The following principles can apply to other poses in the same category, too, so add these tools to your toolbox to support yourself in any class.
About Our Expert
Anna Guest-Jelley is the founder of Curvy Yoga, an online yoga studio and teacher training center that helps people of all sizes find true acceptance and freedom, both on and off the mat. She is also the author of Curvy Yoga: Love Yourself & Your Body a Little More Each Day and the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body. Learn more at CurvyYoga.com