As with all exercises, work at the level that works for you and only progress when you feel ready and able to up the challenge and difficulty. Side bend is great for stretching the muscles surrounding the rib cage i.e serratus and intercostal’s as well as strengthening your obliques, improving your balancing and toning your waist line.

How to do it:

  • Sit sideways with your legs bent to one side, with the top foot placed in front of the bottom foot
  • Place the supporting hand in line with the seated hip a few inches in front of the shoulder
  • Press into supporting hand and straighten the legs to lift the pelvis away from the Mat, making a rainbow shape with the body
  • To slow down the pace of the exercise, inhale in the start position. Exhale as you bring the arm overhead and stretch into the top side of the body. Inhale and stay. Exhale and lower down.
  • The body should be in a line as if it is between two panes of glass
  • Repeat 4 times

Variations:

  • Leave the shin of your bottom leg on the mat and lift your top arm up and overhead, imagine rocking onto that bottom knee
  • Keep your supporting arm bent, to decrease the range of movement

The best way to improve your strength and flexibility is to come to a class, check out the timetable and venue list here.