Extended side angle pose

Sticking with some great back stretching and posture-enhancing ideas, I’m bringing you the extended side angle pose today.

“The spine is responsible for sending messages throughout your body, and when you’re hunched, the pathway isn’t as smooth,” says Alison West, Yoga Union Center for Back Care and Scoliosis co-director.

Stand with your feet about four feet apart and turn your left foot out about 90 degrees.
Extend your arms, palms down, at shoulder height.
Bend your left knee until it’s over your ankle.
Flex from the waist to the left and place your left hand outside your left foot. (Can’t reach the floor? Place your elbow on your knee or your hand on the inside of your foot–as shown below–­instead.)
Reach your right arm over your ear and turn your chin toward your right armpit.
Look up and take five slow breaths.
Return to standing and switch sides.
Repeat 3 to 5 times.

New to yoga? Do the move with your back against a wall. “Using the wall takes the balance component out of it,” West says, “so you can concentrate on lengthening your spine and rolling your chest open.”

I can attest to the beauty of this move. I live with chronic back pain (thank you ankylosing spondylitis) and this both stretches my spine and invigorates me! I absolutely recommend this move!

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