My aunt is severely asthmatic. She is slightly overweight, with most of her fat being on her hips and tummy. Our family doctor has advised light yoga to keep her fit as she is also prone to high blood pressure and joint aches.

What are some ways to ease her into yoga? She is almost always out of breath.

  • 3
    You're going to have to ask her doctor about what's best for her. When illnesses or injuries are involved, we can't be of any help, because we don't know the entirety of her situation. We risk recommending something that may be more harm than good.
    – Alec
    Apr 26, 2017 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


If her doctor has not already given you a list of exercises, this site has a list of concerns for more obese people doing yoga:

  1. Bending forward is in varying degrees hampered by the abdomen. If one is quite fat, it’s like trying to lean over a beach ball.

  2. The fat person usually finds it difficult to internally rotate the hips. Fat on the thighs spreads the legs apart, outwardly rotating the hips. This accounts for the characteristic widebased gait and open-legged seated posture of the fat person. The resultant contracture (if a person has been fat for a long time) in the external rotators makes postures that require the legs to remain together difficult and even painful.

  3. Fat in the upper arms and the upper/middle back makes putting the hands together behind the back difficult, as does the fat person’s increased ratio of torso circumference to arm length. Take the Circle of Joy, add a fat person, and presto! — instant Circle of Frustration. (Actually, this is easily solved simply by moving the arms behind one instead of clasping the hands.)

  4. Fat people tend to have some neck difficulty, because of the habitual need to crane the neck forward to get closer to something to read, eat or whatever. If the tummy dictates that the person must sit further from a desk, the neck and shoulders bear the brunt of bringing the head and hands forward to lean over a book or dinner plate. Unlike in pregnant women, for a fat person this “lean forward” part happens for an extended period of time; it could lead to a chronic unhealthy curve in the cervical spine, and even a “widow’s hump.”

It’s interesting that, because of these four differences, it’s often the simpler asanas that are difficult for the fat person, whereas some more challenging ones are actually easier for most.

They also have a list of recommended exercises at the bottom (site provides links, which I am too lazy to provide here):

  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