Side bending pose

Yoga Poses

Side bending pose /Urdhva Hastasana Ardha Chandrasana


Side bending pose stretches and strengthen the back, flank and oblique muscles, toning the side waist and tummy. Side bends provide are a basic yoga prep pose appropriate for all levels of classes including beginner, pre/post-natal and senior yoga. Side bends prepare the spine and side waist for lateral bends and stretches required for triangle, extended side angle and half-moon poses.

To enter the pose, begin in Tadasana. Root the feet down. Inhale and raise the arms overhead. Interlock the fingers, with pointer fingers extended. Exhale and bend to the right from the side waist. Hold, then inhale and lift the torso back to the upright position. Exhale bend to the left side. Hold, then inhale and lift torso back to upright position. To exit the pose, release the arms to the sides. Repeat 5-10 times.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine the body to be held in between two sheets of glass. Reach the fingers tips towards the ceiling. Imagine your side waist to be as soft as a marshmallow. Exhale and release side-ways. To lift upwards, reach your top hip towards your feet and imagine you are a puppet with strings pulling you upwards.

Technical Comments

To stabilise body, spread the toes and root feet into mat and align heels and toes. Keep the hips square, lift thighs from the knee caps and rotate thighs inward. Squeeze the shins towards each other when bending sideways. To protect the back, avoid twisting the torso by keep the body and head facing forward while bending. The arms and hands should be directly above hip and leg.

Benefit Comments

  • Stretches and strengthens side waist and oblique muscles
  • Stretches and strengthens lower back and psoas muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates spinal nerves
  • Tones upper arms
  • Stretches and tones abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens hips, legs and ankles

Watch Out For:

  • Twisting of hips or upper body when arching sideways.
  • Pigeon or duck feet.
  • Tight hips and shoulders.


  • Injuries to lumbar
  • Sciatica
  • Neck and shoulders problems


  • Stand against a wall, press hands against wall for support when arching sideways.
  • Stand sideways near a wall, with outside of foot pressing against wall. Reach upper arm over and reach for wall.
  • Hold a strap between taut between hands to open shoulders and stretch arms.
  • Keep hands on hips and bend sideways.
  • Sit on chair. Hold chair seat or leg with one hand, bend sideways.


  • Place one hand along leg, the other reaching up to side bend.
  • Place feet in tree position, both arms raised or one arm.
  • Criss-cross arms or hold elbows.
  • Keep feet together and bend sideways.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
  • Standing back bend (Anuvittasana)
  • Wide leg standing forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
  • Tadasana

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at

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