In a yoga popularity contest, side bends may not get a lot of votes. But I will wildly raise my hand in support of these amazing postures. First off, side bending is not a common action in our daily lives, which means we are majorly lacking in—and longing for—the release and space a side bend offers. They improve breathing capacity by stretching your intercostal muscles, relieve lower back pain by releasing your QL, and serve as a fantastic prep for backbends. Here, choose from four side bends to suit your current mood.
See also The Anatomy of a Satisfying Side Stretch
Your Mood: Nice + Mellow
Your Side Bend: Standing Side Bend
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your lower belly as you release your tailbone to keep your pelvis neutral. Extend both of your arms up overhead with your palms facing each other. Clasp your right wrist with your left hand apply gentle pressure pulling your arm toward the left while keeping your shoulder in the socket in external rotation. Shift your left ribcage toward your right to broaden the area (imagine you ribs are like a fan being opened). Gaze down and take 8 breaths. Repeat on the second side.
See alsoKathryn Budig’s Top 3 Yoga Poses for PMS
About Kathryn Budig
Kathryn Budig is the yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE, a regular writer for Yoga Journal, and a presenter at Yoga Journal LIVE!
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