Lateral Bend

Setup and Key Actions

Begin in a high kneeling position with your knees under your hips and the back of your skull in line with the back of your tailbone. Keep your hands on your hips to start, and extend your left leg straight out to the side (your left heel will be in line with your right knee. If it feels comfortable for your foot, ankle, and knee, you can turn your left toes to point straight ahead, resting the entire sole of your left foot on the floor. If that doesn’t feel comfortable or accessible, keep your left toes pointing to the left and rest the sole of your left foot on the ground.

Keep your right hip stacked directly over your right knee. As with wide-legged standing poses (think warrior II, side angle, and triangle), don’t worry about getting your pelvis perfectly “square” to the long edge of your mat—especially if your left toes are pointing to the left—which could cause your left knee to twist.

On an inhalation, extend your arms out to the side, like a letter “T.”

Exhaling, side bend to your left, resting your left hand on your left thigh or shin as you reach your right arm up and over for a side bend. Avoid collapsing to your left or rounding forward. If you feel like your left side is collapsing, slide your hand up a little higher on your shin or thigh; spin your chest up toward the sky. Gaze straight ahead, or turn your head to look up toward your hand if it feels comfortable for your neck.


If your left foot is pointing to the left and the sole of your foot is unable to comfortably reach the floor, you can place a block, at its lowest height, underneath the ball of your left foot.