Yoga sidebends feel great because we don’t do much lateral flexion throughout the day and so the muscles in the sides of our bodies tend to tighten up. We can practice them seated, standing and even on our backs. Sidebends can help to relieve lower back pain, pain in between the shoulder blades and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. They are also great for improving posture and increasing breathing efficiency. The most important alignment cue is to be careful not to let your top shoulder fall forward. The objective is always to keep your hips, shoulder and wrists in a straight line.
In this “quick guide”, I demonstrate 5 sidebends that vary in difficulty and primary objective. If you open this page on your phone, you can save the image to your photos to use as a reference.
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA SIDEBENDS
- Sidebends stretch the hips, quadratus lumborum (lower back), obliques, intercostals (muscles in between the ribs), serratus anterior, lats, delts and triceps.
- Sidebends increase mobility in the spine and shoulders.
- Sidebends can alleviate pain in the shoulders and neck.
- Sidebends improve posture.
- Sidebends facilitate more effective breathing.
- Sidebends enhance balance and body control.