Start in Downward Facing Dog. Step right foot forward next to right hand. Bend right knee. Right hand inside right foot. Left arm up (form line with body). Open chest. Repeat on left.
Stretches legs, groins, and hamstrings. Opens chest and shoulders.
A) Using wall for back support. B) Using wall for extended arm support. C) Block placed by foot. D) Place a chair in front of bent knee for extra support making sure chair does not move. E) Place bent thigh over a chair. F) Keep arm on thigh (instead of placing palm on the mat). G) Gaze down instead of up. H) Place hand in front of foot instead of behind.
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1) Heart And Lungs – Side stretching releases tension from the muscles that attach to the ribs and the intercostal muscles between the ribs themselves, allowing the ribs to express their full range of motion and the lungs to effectively respond to the increase and decrease of volume. The diaphragm (major muscle of breathing) and the chambers of the heart all get stretched as well, especially in postures such as Reclined Hero with arms reached overhead.
2) Digestion - Creating space between the iliac crest and the lower ribs on one side as you close the space on the other does wonders for the organs of the digestive system: stomach, pancreas, and large intestine on the left side and liver, gallbladder and large intestine on the right side. Also, simultaneous side body stretching is great for both intestines and all aspects of the colon.
3) Immunity – The lymphatic system, unlike the cardiac system, does not have a pump to propel lymphatic flow throughout the body. Lymphatic fluid is derived from interstitial fluid (fluid between cells) and collects bacteria to bring to the lymph nodes where it is destroyed. The best way to help detoxify the body and move the lymphatic fluid along is to rebound (up and down movement i.e. running, skipping, trampolining) and stretch. Arms overhead side body stretching affects the lymph nodes in the auxiliary region (armpit) and the region of the spleen (lymphatic organ) itself.