Yoga Poses: 6 Steps to Master the Intense Side Stretch
Starting position: Stand straight and split your legs so your feet are at least 3½ to 4 feet apart. Rest your hands on your hips. Turn your left foot 45 to 60 degrees to the right and while keeping your right foot at 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle. Rotation: Exhale and rotate the lower body toward the right side straightening the front of your pelvis. Press the upper thigh bone of the left leg toward the floor with the back heel. Squeeze the thighs inward as if pushing a block between your legs. Stretch the scapulas outside and lengthen the coccyx toward the floor. Curve the upper back slightly. Paralleling: Exhale again and lean the lower body over the right leg. Keep it parallel to the floor and press the finger tips on the ground on both sides of the right leg. If you have to try too hard to touch the floor or you are a beginner you can always use a block or seat of folding chair for support. Extend the torso forward and lift the top of chest bone. Squeezing: As you squeeze the upper thighs, soften the front leg because the swing of the front leg lift tends to shorten the front leg. Put pressure on the big toe and inner heel so that they press firmly against the floor. Now once you have achieved this pose, try curling the groin into the pelvis. Fine finishing: Keep the upper torso in line with the floor. Depending on your flexibility level, try to bring the front torso toward the upper thigh but don’t round the waist to do so. Hold this pose for 25 to 30 seconds. Inhale and press the coccyx toward the groin first and then to the floor. Repeat the same posture on the left side. Anatomical focus of the Inverted Side stretch: The anatomical focus of the intense side stretch is mainly brain, hamstrings and shoulders. Inverted side stretch is helpful in curing anxiety and tension like many other yoga asana. People with wrist or back injuries should not practice this pose. Inverted side stretch is basically used to treat flat feet. It is also helpful in providing relief for the back pains.