Lateral Bend Yoga Poses

Lateral bend yoga poses are postures in yoga that involve bending the body laterally, or sideways, to stretch and strengthen the muscles along the sides of the torso. These poses are beneficial for improving flexibility, balance, and increasing the range of motion in the spine. Lateral bends also help open up the ribcage and encourage deep breathing, which can be soothing and invigorating.

Bound Triangle Pose - YanvaYoga
Bound Triangle Pose
Baddha Trikonasana
Bound Extended Side Angle Pose - YanvaYoga
Bound Extended Side Angle Pose
Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana
Sideways Bending - One Arm - YanvaYoga
Sideways Bending – One Arm
Half Circle Pose - YanvaYoga
Half Circle Pose
Ardha Mandalasana
Seated Side Bend Pose - YanvaYoga
Seated Side Bend Pose
Parsva Sukhasana
Swaying Palm Tree Pose - YanvaYoga
Swaying Palm Tree Pose
Tiryaka Tadasana
Gate Pose Parighasana - YanvaYoga
Gate Pose
Side Seated Wide Angle Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska
Revolved Seated Wide Angle Pose
Parsva Upavistha Konasana
Triangle Pose Yoga - YanvaYoga
Triangle Pose

In yoga, side bend poses, also known as lateral stretches or lateral bends, are designed to stretch and open the sides of the body. These poses help to increase flexibility and mobility in the spine, relieve tension in the shoulders and back, and create space for deeper breathing. Side bend poses can be performed in various positions, including standing, sitting, and even reclining. Here are some common types of side bend yoga poses based on different positions:

  • Standing Side Bend Poses: Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), Revolved Extended Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana).
  • Sitting Side Bend Poses: Seated Side Bend (Paschimottanasana variation), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) with side bend
    Gate Pose (Parighasana), Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana) with side bend.
  • Reclining Side Bend Pose: Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) with side bend, Reclining Gate Pose (Supta Parighasana), Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) with side bend.

It’s important to practice side bend poses mindfully and with proper alignment to avoid strain or injury. Always warm up before attempting these poses, and consider taking a yoga class or working with a qualified yoga instructor to ensure you’re practicing them safely and effectively.

As with any physical activity, if you have any specific health concerns or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before starting a yoga practice.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches and strengthens the side body, including the intercostal muscles and obliques.

Increases flexibility and mobility in the spine, promoting better posture.

Opens the ribcage, improving lung capacity and aiding in deep breathing.

Can relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back.

Enhances body awareness and balance.

May help alleviate stiffness and discomfort caused by prolonged sitting or standing.


Spinal injuries or conditions affecting the lateral aspect of the spine.

Herniated or bulging discs in the spine.

Osteoporosis or osteopenia (avoid excessive side bending).

Pregnancy (avoid deep lateral bends or consult a prenatal yoga instructor).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of standing side bend pose?
The Standing Side Bend Pose, also known as Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), offers several benefits for the body and mind. Here are some of the advantages of practicing this yoga pose: Stretches the Side Body, Strengthens Legs and Core, Opens the Hips, Improves Spinal Flexibility, Enhances Digestion, Stimulates Circulation. As with any yoga pose, it's essential to perform the Standing Side Bend Pose with proper alignment and avoid forcing the body into the pose.
What does a standing side bend stretch?
A standing side bend primarily stretches the muscles along the sides of the torso, which include: Intercostal Muscles, Obliques, Quadratus Lumborum, Latissimus Dorsi, Erector Spinae, Intertransversarii Muscles. By stretching these muscles, the standing side bend pose helps to increase flexibility and mobility in the lateral body, improve spinal flexibility, and relieve tension in the sides, back, and shoulders.

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