Standing Side-Stretch

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"I love this! I moved out of the area where I was taking classes, and couldn't really find a convenient class. As a result of doing nothing, all my back problems came back this morning. I am so happy I found someplace to take classes again. You don't even have to look good for class, 'cause nobody sees you. Thanks again!" - Karen Phillipson

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Standing Side-Stretch Pose | Standing

Standing Side Stretch Pose

Gently opens the side of the body, especially the ribs and intercostal muscles. Bends the spine laterally (to the side) and allows one to explore a very uncommon movement.

  1. Standing in Tadasana with your feet together, inhale while stretching your left arm out to the side and over your head. Your chin remains level with the ground.
  2. Inhale, reach up toward the sky, exhale while bending your body to the right without moving the hips out. Keep the hips and check facing forward. Concentrate on the movement of the spine as it creates an arc.
  3. Extend through the sides of the neck, keeping it long. The chest remains open and the whole body flexed. Stretch through the arm.
  4. Imagine your breath traveling down the opposite side of your bend all the way to the toes and back up through the same side. Hold for several breaths, always responding your particular needs.
  5. Inhale while bringing your body back to center. Exhale the left arm down. Alternate sides.

Benefits:

  • Helps to realign the spinal column
  • Stretches the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and the thoracic cage aiding the lungs to take in more oxygen
  • Stimulates the digestive tract by stretching the abdominal muscles and waist

Cautionary Notes:

  • Begin very carefully if you have chronic back problems, such as slipped discs
  • Take your feet slightly apart if you feel unstable with your feet together

Modifications:

  • Try placing the hands in Namaste (hands and fingers together) while stretching the arms upward
  • Raise your right arm in the air, while you bend to the left. Your left hand rests on the left thigh. You may want to take the feet farther apart.
  • Repeat on other side.