Lateral Bend

Setup and Key Actions

Begin in a lunge with your left foot forward, right leg back. Spin your back foot flat to the floor (parallel, or slightly turned in), and place your left fingertips on a block or the floor outside of your left shin. Bring your right hand to your hip. Ground into the ball of your left big toe and your left outer heel, and begin moving your left leg toward straight, lifting up your left kneecap (especially the inner knee) as you straighten. You can avoid locking the knee by drawing the base of your left shin back and the top of your shin forward (or maintain a micro-bend in your knee). Press your left fingertips into the floor or block. Roll your back inner thigh up, and spin the left side of your belly up toward the right side of your belly (as opposed to rolling your back hip back, which can be precarious for the pelvis). If your shoulders are stacked, extend your top arm straight up (without reaching behind you). Keep the back of your head in line with the back of your pelvis, and only turn your head to look up as far as is comfortable for your neck.


Practice at a wall for more stability. Begin in a wide stance, facing the long edge of your mat, with the entire outer edge of your right foot on the wall. Pivot on your left heel so that your left toes point toward the short edge of your mat. Have a block waiting for you outside your left shin. Bring your right fingertips to the wall near shoulder-height, and extend your left arm out to the side like a “T.” Instead of shifting your hips to come into the pose, reach your left arm forward toward the center of the room until your right fingertips leave the wall. Then, place your left hand onto your block, and bring your right hand to your hip, or extended upward toward the sky, or alongside your ear for more of a lateral stretch. Press your back foot into the wall to rise back up on an inhale.