Side Moon is a lovely standing side bending yoga pose with the arms overhead stretching to either side. It opens the shoulders, rib cage, and waist while strengthening the core. Energetically it opens the sides of the hearts. Often we think to open the heart we need to do back bends. However, the heart is multi-dimensional. Opening the sides and the back of the heart help to release stuck energy and free us up to love more!
Practicing this pose we can keep both arms over head or take one arm down to our sides for support along the leg or hip. To hold integrity in your alignment be mindful to keep the hips and shoulders squared forward (no twisting please) and to keep the hips over the heels. Pressing the hips forward is a common mistake that adds a back bend to the posture and creates additional pressure in the lower and middle back. Flowing the pose with the breath (inhaling into the center, exhaling side bending) is a great way to warm the body from the inside out. Holding the pose enhances core strength. Be sure to keep breathing when holding the pose and only go so far as you can stay aligned.
This pose can really be practiced in many ways with loads of variations. Seated side bends are very common warm up poses. Laying down on your back you can reach the arms overhead and stretching them to either side. This one keeps everything aligned because of the floor. A restorative version can be laying on your side over a bolster with the arms over head, perhaps a block under the top hand.
Come to classes this month at Maitri and you’ll get to experience the many variations of Side Moon, Parshva Konasana.