Side Body Length
A couple of weeks back, I talked about Vasisthasana/ Side Plank, as an amazing pose to strengthen the sides of the body. I talked about the importance of strengthening our sides, when it comes to supporting our spine, as clearly so vital. Yet, let’s not forget that we can also think about re-lengthening our side body, to release tension, increase mobility, improve breathing and stand taller. Equally, as with all areas of the body, we need to be finding that balance between strength and mobility, support, stability and flexibility.
The side body, so what is it?
We can consider all these areas when talking about the ‘side body’:
- the neck,
- latisimus dorsi (those potentially big muscles under the armpits), which I know if you surf, can accumulate knots, restricting shoulder mobility.
- serratus anterior, as we go down towards the ribs, and the intercostal muscles in between the ribs – these can all pick up knots and tight spots which can even inhibit our breathing.
- low back, in particular the quadratus lumborum muscles, either side of the spine, which enable us to side-bend and often work really hard.
- our lateral pelvic stabilisers on the outer hips and tensor fascia lata, a muscle we know gets tight, that then can pull on the iliol tibial band, running alone outside of the thigh.
So, try this great pose: the Lounging Lizard – it’s simple, subtle but effective. Come into it from a side plank – with one foot placed on the floor, lowering the lower hip to the floor, so you’re on your side. Straighten up as much as you can and push away through your back heel. You have the option to come down onto your elbow to reduce the side stretch sensation, and then drop your head towards your bent knee.
I love this pose. It can be quite subtle for some and more intense for others but it has this wonderful sense of lengthening through that lowest side, particularly the waist area but nicely into the outside of the hip, I find.
This Sunday’s workshop is one that I’m definitely looking forward to! We’re going to be exploring ways of strengthening and releasing tension in the sides of the body, so it’s going to include lots of side bends and twists in fun and creative ways in which strengthen and simultaneously increase mobility, enhance flexibility and release muscular tension. It’ll be a mix of Vinyasa Flow Yoga, slow restorative Yin yoga and of course myofascial release. If you’re coming, remember your balls 😉
Thank you so much for joining me and I can’t wait to see you soon.
As always, leave me a comment just below.