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  • Rosie Iles-Jonas

Side Bending

July is all about the side body and occupying space in a world that (is it just me?) seems to be trying to get us to think and feel small?

For this month how can you shift your interest from the front and back parts of your body to the sides and these long, luscious lines of muscle and tissue.

I teach a theme for one month because that ensures I’m actually teaching, not just guiding people in and out of shapes (which would make me just an instructor).

Each month I shift our focus, and so you conclude the month with more knowledge than when you started, and you take what you’ve learned, into the next month. Students who practice with me really are learning, rather than being instructed. Already this year we’ve covered the core, hips and breath.

Yoga can sometimes over emphasise flexion (forward folds) and extension (back bends) and neglect the joy that is side bending (lateral flexion)

Expect intelligent and balanced sequences that lead to a peak pose. As well as words like wriggle, shimmy and hitch to help you find new movement patterns.

Side bending feels wonderful, I think that’s because it’s a little unusual, and the body loves novelty. For Yogis who practice regularly (especially styles that repeat the same sequence) you’re going to be SO present this month, learning something new about your body, and feeling like the beginners in the room.

A beginners mindset is something to be sought after precisely because it demands moment to moment awareness.

Side bending relaxes the abdominals, hips and thigh muscles, while improving flexibility in the spine, so it’s going to assist with that stiff lower back, back bends or folds.

Side bends also ease the space between the ribs (intercostal muscles) which can become tight and tethered. Breath can become shallow and laboured when this happens. If you want to improve your relationship with your breath, I recommend this epsiode of Yoga Pose Podcast.

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If you found this article enjoyable, leave a comment and share on social media. Thank you, Rosie Pose x

Rosie Iles-Jonas

Yoga Teacher

Postgraduate at SOAS University

Yoga and Somatics for Healing with Charlotte Watts