Step by step
- Start in Dandasana.
- Open the right leg out to the side. Bend the left knee and bring the heel in towards the groin.
- Ground through the sitting bones and extend through the crown of the head as you inhale. Engage your outstretched (right) leg. As you exhale, twist the upper body to the left and take a side bend toward the right leg.
- Knit your lower ribs in, and gently rotate your ribcage upwards.
- Bring the right elbow towards the right knee or the floor.
- Raise the left arm and bring it over the head. If you can reach it without strain take hold of the right foot with both hands.
- Slightly tuck the chin and turn the head towards the ceiling.
- Stay in the pose for 5 deep breaths. Reverse the steps to come out of the pose.
- Stay in Dandasana for a moment to let the body settle before switching legs and repeat on the other side.
- Sit on a folded blanket to find length in your spine with more ease.
- If your elbow doesn’t reach your knee, place your hand on the floor, or place a block on the inside of the outstretched leg.
- Keep the knees slightly bent if your hamstrings are tight.
- You can also loop a strap around your outstretched foot. Take hold of one or both ends depending on what feel most accessible.
- Releases tension in the intercostal muscles between the ribs and on the side and back of the body.
- Encourages full, deep breaths.
- Stretches the hamstrings, groins and shoulders
- Side stretches such as this are lovely to balance out poses like Chaturanga Dandasana.
Watch out for
- If you have knee injuries you can keep both legs straight and practise the same upper body actions. Keep your legs slightly bent and place rolled up towels under your knees.
- If you have discomfort in your neck keep your gaze on the floor in front of you. Stack up blocks under your right elbow and support your head with your hand.
- Keep length in both side waists.
- If you can comfortably take hold of the right foot with both hands bring the left arm across the body, press the top of the left thigh down and out to increase the stretch.