Bananasana

Step by step

  • Lie down on your back, legs straight, arms overhead.
  • With your buttocks firmly anchored on the mat, move both of your legs to the right. Use your right foot to keep your left foot in place, by crossing your ankles
  • Buttocks still anchored on the mat, bring your upper body to the right allowing your spine to bend to the side, clasping your left wrist with your right hand
  • Hold for 3 to 5 minutes
  • You are looking for stimulation in the side body. You may feel more sensations in the upper body (ribs, shoulders, arms), the lower body (along the hips and thighs) or both.
  • To come out of the pose, slowly bring your body back to neutral.
  • Lift your head to make sure that you’re lying straight and take a few moments in Savasana to integrate the effects of this pose.
  • Repeat on the other side. 

Beginners tips

  • You might not feel much in this pose right away. Take a few moments to allow the first sensations to arise then adjust further if you’re looking for greater sensation. 

Benefits

  • Lateral flexion of the spine.
  • Stretches all the side body tissues and muscles such as the IT band and intercostal muscles.
  • Stimulates the Gallbladder meridian.
  • Stimulates the Heart and Lung meridians if arms are raised overhead. 

Watch out for

  • Avoid any tingling sensations in the arms. If this occurs, adjust the arm position, elevate them with a bolster or try holding onto your elbows instead of your wrists. 

Variations

  • You can adjust the position of your pelvis to target sensations in the front side body or the back side body.
  • Use a strap to go deeper in the pose: Make a small loop and place it around your left ankle. Hold the other side of the strap, as low as possible, with your left hand. Use your right arm to put tension on the strap (a bit like a bow and an arrow). Doing this can intensify the side bend, while still keeping the muscles relaxed.

Alternative poses

Counter pose

  • Savasana