The Practice Asanas that open the sides and expand the ribs can help access core muscles and viscera (organs), where blood and energy flow through the body’s main channels. This sidebend sequence helps create interior space for abdominal organs, widens the diaphragm, and allows the collarbones and sternum to lift and spread. As a result, the breath can expand and deepen, allowing prana to flow—an effective preparation for pranayama practice.
See also A Beginner's Guide to Pranayama
Mind-Body Benefits Besides lengthening and deepening respiratory rhythm, these poses help improve circulation and stretch your spinal nerves by releasing compression between the vertebrae. Sidebends also bring greater elasticity and range of motion to the spine, which brings a feeling of lightness and buoyancy to the chest, neck, and skull, often translating to feelings of serenity and happiness.
Key Focal Points Root through your legs to better align muscles throughout your body, thereby accessing your core, which connects and supports other musculature. In each of the poses, extend your front body, and use your breath to expand the side ribs (imagine the way helium expands a balloon), sensing the effect on your diaphragm, internal organs, ribs, and connective tissues. Direct your breath to where you feel the greatest resistance.
See also Jason Crandell's video This Side Up: Sidebend for Space