How To Do Standing Side Bend

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Standing Side Bend is a basic standing pose that stretches the spine and obliques and promotes better posture. This pose also strengthens the legs. If you are looking to stand taller and look leaner you should learn how to do Standing Side Bend.

Many if not most of us suffer from poor posture. Slouching over a computer or steering wheel and walking around with our head hanging over a cell phone has taught our backs to curve forward, our chest to be tight and our neck to be out of alignment. The only way to fix this posture that will eventually lead to a hump back, also known as kyphosis, is to re-align your spine and practice better posture. A pose like Standing Side Bend opens the entire torso and encourages you to stand taller. By taking a side bend without leaning either forward or backward – even slightly – you open up the muscle tissue surrounding your spine and your rib cage and you encourage a taller stance.

Much like Mountain Pose, Standing Side Bend also focuses on breathing and calming. It is not a mere standing and bending that you accomplish. With each bend you exhale to make the stretch a bit longer. In addition, you practice leg strength by rooting your feet firmly into the ground and lifting the knee caps by squeezing your quadriceps. As you bend to the side, make sure not only to squeeze both legs completely but also your glutes and abdominals. This will give you a base of support and help you bend and stretch even farther.

If you enjoy Standing Side Bend and want to learn other calming poses, try our blog How To Relieve Headaches With Yoga. Even if you don’t have a headache, this routine will calm you and give you serenity.
Here are the steps to learn Standing Side Bend:

1) Stand tall with feet and legs together and reach both arms straight up overhead as you inhale.

2) Lower your right arm down the right side of your body and exhale as you lengthen the left arm over the head, bending body gently to the right.

3) Inhale to return arms overhead to center and exhale as you repeat on the left side.

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