Side-arm balance: yoga pose of the week

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

This week’s pose is called ‘side arm balance’ and helps gently stretch your body. Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says begin sideways on your mat on your knees.
“Extend your right leg out to the right, with the sole of the foot on the floor and the toes, knee and hip all pointing in the same direction. Have the foot as flat on the floor as possible. Keep the left knee directly below the left hip. Inhale as you reach the left arm up and with each inhale, lengthen through the spine and the entire left side, reaching into all the fingers of the left hand.”
Whitby adds, “Gently keep the right hip forward as your torso opens. Make sure the extended is inline with your ear and your head inline with your spine. Breathe into the left rib cage, feeling the lungs and rib muscles expand. Please do not to go deeper than you can comfortably breathe or move. Hold for 15-30 seconds or three-10 breaths and slowly switch sides.”
Modifications and props:
Place a folded towel under your knees, to provide cushioning, if you have sore knees.
Beginner’s tip:
Reach up but be careful not to squeeze at the neck and shoulder as you will increase tension instead of releasing it.
Benefits:
Gentle spine stretch, opens up lungs and ribs for increased breath. Gently massages organs for proper functioning.
Make it more challenging:
Point the toes of the extended leg to the to the sides, instead of forward and press the whole foot on the mat.
Cautions:
Use caution if you have knee, back or shoulder pain.

Camille Gatto demonstrates side-arm balance pose.

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