The Yoga Flow Show Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 5

Side Body Express

30 min - Practice


With a combination of stretching and strengthening to build flexibility and strength, Kate guides us in a super sweet practice to awaken our side body. This practice results in a feeling of spaciousness and ease both in the body and mind.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(waves crashing) Welcome yogis. Let's get into our side body. So right away you can sit up tall, shoulders stacking over the hips. And creep your right hand on out to the side, like it's a itsy bitsy spider. You can inhale the left arm up.

And then start to arc overhead on your exhale. The right elbow might even bend here. So the main point of concern for me is to keep contact through my left sitting bone into the ground. It tends to creep up. So try to anchor the left sitting bone down as you arc over to the right.

And then with an inhale, bend your left elbow and wing the left elbow back slightly. So you're adding the little cactus arm here. Turning the chest upward slightly. And then exhale, reach the left arm back overhead, getting even longer through the left waist. On your next breath in, circle back up to sit.

And then start to walk your left hand out to the side, keeping the right sitting bone grounded. Inhale the right arm overhead. And then start to empty down maybe into the left forearm. Ground the right hip down, the right sitting bone into the mat. And then inhale, bend the right elbow.

Turn the chest upwards. Try to get wider across the collarbones. Keep that space in the right waist, and reach your right arm overhead, even straighten the arm as much as you can. So it brings more weight into the side body. And then you can circle the right hand down across the chest and inhale your way back up to center.

And then you're going to face the front of the mat. You can extend the right leg long. Left knee bent out to the side. We'll turn to the left. Both sitting bones on the ground.

Start to empty the right forearm down. Circle the left arm overhead. Just like we did in sukhasana. Inhale, bend the left elbow. Exhale, reach the left arm longer, grounding the left sitting bone down.

Flexing the right foot. Staying strong through the right leg. So it's parivrtta janu sirsasana. And then take your left hand to the back of the mat. Reach into the left chin.

Inhale, open it up for star gazer. You can even plant the right foot fully into the floor. And then lower down and switch your sides. Extend the left leg long. Bring the right foot into the inner left thigh, and twist to the right.

Start to lower the left elbow to the inside of the left leg. Breathing in. Sweep the right arm up alongside the right ear. And then breathing to wide and pull the elbow back as you cactus your right arm. Now reach the right arm overhead.

Try to externally rotate the right hip. And empty the outer right thigh into the mat. Circle up on the inhale. Plant your right hand, right shin down, and lift through the hips. Lower your hips down and cross your legs.

Come out onto all fours. And we'll ease our way back into downward facing dog. So we're going to check in a little variation for the side body here. Turn both feet to the left. So it's really crooked, a little bit awkward.

And then send your hips off to the right as you press back. So you might feel an extra stretch through the left lower back or outer hip. And then swivel the heels straight behind you. Come into center. And we'll go to the other side.

Now the feet are going to turn to the right. Send the hips behind you, but veer them to the left. So you have to get a little bit more grounded through the right hand to counterbalance and find stability. And then swivel the heels back through center. We're going to inhale to plank, and lower all the way to the mat.

Plant your elbows underneath you for sphinx pose so the chest lifts. From here we're going to roll over onto our right side. So you can turn the right hand to the side of the mat and bend your knees. So the hips, and the knees, and the shoulders are all aligned. Press down into the right forearm so your hips lift up off the mat.

And then send your left arm straight up. You can lift your left leg a little bit. You're waking up your obliques. And extend your left leg straight behind you. Reach the left arm overhead so we're making one continuous line through the left side.

And on an exhale you can lower the right hip down. Look back toward your left foot and your left hand. Inhale, toss the left arm overhead. Exhale, lower down. Inhale, lift on up.

One more time. Lowering down on the exhale. Lifting up on the inhale. And then you can come back around into your sphinx pose through your center. And we'll turn the left hand to the right side of your mat.

Roll onto the left side of your hip. Bend through the knees. Left elbow under the left shoulder. Float it up. So this a vasisthasana, or side plank preparation.

The right thigh lifts parallel to the left. Then extend at the knee. Reach your right arm overhead. Take a breath in, get longer. And then lower your left hip down.

And reach your right hand toward your right foot. Inhale, stretch it up. Exhale, lower down. This is also a really great way to wake up the outer thighs. And lower on the exhale.

One more breath in, take it up. Now tuck the right toes. Bring your right forearm down. Lower the hips. Sphinx pose.

Point your feet. Inhale, slide the hands back, cobra. Press back over your knees. Tuck your toes, downward facing. From adho mukha svanasana, inhale your right leg up behind you, and exhale, step it through to the top of the mat.

Lower your left knee down. Inhale the arms up for anjaneyasana. You're going to sweep your arms down to the left, to the inside of your right leg. This transition's a little funky, so stay with me. Take the left heel underneath you.

Turn the right toes to the side so the hips are underneath the shoulders. We've just shifted around to the side of the mat. Slide your right hand down your right shin and inhale your left arm overhead. So it's parighasana, or gateway pose. And it's a really intense (giggles) special side bend.

So you're going to take the same cactus arm, breath in, wing the elbow back, stretch it overhead on the breath out. And then take your left hand to the back of the mat. Inhale the right arm overhead to stretch your body open the other way. Tuck the right toes. Take your right hand to the ground.

And send your left leg high. Step it through, breathing out. Lower the right knee down. Inhale, anjaneyasana. Exhale, the hands come to the inside of the left leg.

You start to turn. So you come back up, the right heel comes underneath you. The left toes turn parallel. Even out your hips. Slide the left hand down the left shin.

Inhale the right arm overhead. So the right hip is dropping down away from the ribs. Bend the right elbow. Cactus your arm on your next breath in. Turning your chest upwards.

And then sweep the right arm overhead. Even straighten the arm, breathing out. Inhale, take your right hand to the back other side of the mat, left arm overhead. Then exhale, left arm cuts down across to the floor. Tuck the left toes.

Reach the right leg up, breathing in. And this time step it all the way forward to the top of the mat and bring your left leg up to meet you. Inhale here for ardha uttanasana. Exhale, bow in, stacking the hips over the ankle bones. Rise up to stand with an inhale.

Reach your hands high. And pull it down through prayer and open by your sides. You can bring your left hand to your hips. And we're going to do a little supported side bend here from a standing place. Inhale the right arm up, and start to tip over to the left side.

So the left hand supports your left hip, so you can really kick your hips out to the right side and find a nice boomerang shape through the body. And breathing in, cactus the right arm. Breathing out, reach it straighter overhead, making more space in the waist. Inhale your way up to stand. Oh, I feel that one.

And bring your right hand to your hip. Left hand up overhead. Inhaling, keep your legs strong, exhale into your side bend. So that the hips move out to the left side. Breathing in, bend the left elbow.

Turning the heart up. Stay engaged through the legs, and reach your left arm long on the exhale. Inhale up to stand. And take a moment, stacking the joints. We'll come through utkatasana, breathing in.

Dive into uttanasana, breathing out. Going to lift to a flat back, inhaling. Step or float your way back through chaturanga, exhaling. Upward facing, breathing in. And exhale your way to downward facing.

Reach your right leg to the sky and step it through. We're going to circle right open into warrior two, breathing in. So settle into it for a moment. Try to even out. And then you'll flip your palms and inhale into reverse warrior.

From here the right leg straightens, and the right toes pivot in, kind of like our gateway, or parighasana pose. You slide into a side bend here. The hand moves down the outside of the shin. And you're opening the right waist like crazy now. Turn your left toes around, bend your left knee.

Keep the space in the right waist. And there you are in extended side angle, and it's awesome. (giggles) From here you're going to make your way into a rainbow warrior. The right toes have to turn out slightly. The left hand comes to the heart. So it's almost like a side lunge, like a high skandasana.

So you're a lot more lifted than in full skandasana. Pivot around onto the left toes. The left hand comes down. Spin to the outer edge of the left foot. Stack the right leg on top, vasisthasana.

So use that side body strength. Inhale the right arm overhead. Exhale downward dogs. You sort of arc back to center. Left leg lifts.

Step it through. Back heel spins down. Inhale your way up to warrior two. Spread out through the hands. Grow longer through the spine.

And then flip the palms, inhaling to reverse warrior. Straighten through the left leg. Feel the left side lengthen. Turn the left toes in and slide your right hand down your right shin. So we're trying to keep the pelvis neutral underneath us.

Turn the right toes, bend the right knee. The forearm's right there resting on the thigh. On our way up, use your breath in to lift your body. Bring your left heel in slightly. The left toes turn out, the right hand comes to the heart, the right foot flexes.

There's a big inner thigh opening here. Just be careful not to go too deep. Right hand touches down. Tuck the right toes. Keep spinning to the outer edge of the right foot, and then stack your feet.

Lengthen out, vasisthasana. Inhale the left arm overhead. Downward dog, breathing out. One more round here. Right leg up, breathing in.

Exhale it forward. Circle back right through peaceful warrior. Turn the right toes in, side bend. Now this one's a little more precarious. Turn both feet to the left, triangle.

So you slide down your own leg, your own shin, and pause where you need to. Now sweep the right arm overhead, ooh. You're going to circle the hand down. Turn the right toes out. Here we go.

Ease on in into a much deeper skandasana. So the right toes have to angle out as you lower. And some of you might need to support yourself with your hands. If you're unable to do that, you could even put blocks underneath your hips to prop yourself up. If you're comfortable here, you might even take your arm out, breathing in.

You could even wrap your arms around yourself. So lots of different possibilities here. Hands on the floor. Blocks underneath your sitting bones or bound for your skandasana. To climb out, use your hands on the ground.

So you pick yourself up. Here's extended side angle, you're right there magically. (giggles) Make a straight line from your right hand to your left. So don't worry about the left arm reaching overhead for this. Pin the right knee to the back of the arm. That's where the focus goes.

Now this is special. You're going to reach into the right hand and see if you can pick up the right heel. So there's that oblique power again. Left hand to the floor. Pivot, pivot, pivot.

Side plank with tree. Stay lifted out of the left shoulder, step your right foot back. Inhale to your wild thing. Come on down and rest in child's pose. Breathing in, make your way back up to all fours.

Tuck the toes, and press back to downward facing. So we'll send the left leg high on an inhale. Exhale it to the top of the mat. Spin the right heel down. Pass through warrior two, right into your reverse warrior.

And then reach long through the left leg and turn your toes in. Keep your tailbone pointing to the ground as you reach out overhead with the left arm. Now both feet swivel to the back of the mat carefully. Extend your way along the right shin into your triangle pose. And then you can sweep the left arm overhead and down across the face.

So the left toes turn out, the left knee bends. Use your hands, easy does it, into your skandasana. You might use the left arm as a brace for the left knee to help you get into the bind. So keep lifting through mula bandha here. Turning away from your left leg if you're able to wrap your arms around your back.

On the way up the hands come to the ground. Lift your hips up, angle the right toes forward. Plant your left hand under your left shoulder. Inhale the right arm straight up. Pin the left knee to the upper left arm.

And also use a block under your left hand and pick up your left heel. Right arm circles overhead and down, shifting right into your tree shape vasisthasana. Step it back, stay lifted. Supported, and open. And then come around, child's pose.

If your knees are sensitive, for the next part, you might put a blanket under your knees or double up your mat. So you're going to shift onto the shins with the toes tucked for vajrasana. And then sweep the arms up, breathing in. Lower your hips back to your heels. Take your right hand to your right heel.

So you're twisting to the right as you lower your hips. And then sweep the left arm across the chest and behind you for a crooked camel, breathing in. Then we'll arc back down through center, breathing out. Now left hand, left heel. Sweep the right arm across the chest, roll it open, inhaling.

Reverse it. Bring your hips down, exhaling. And then keep going, right hand, right heel. Inhale, sweep the left arm across your face to the back wall, and arc back. So that's a beautiful opening through the side body, the waist, the ribs, and the spine.

And you might even complete the circle and go into a full ustrasana. You can take your hands to your hips. So from this vertical place you can cross your shins behind you. Lower back and stretch your legs forward into navasana. So you're going to reset by connecting to the belly.

Now we'll shift up into a tabletop, breathing in. You can let out a lion's breath here. (exhales) And then lower the hips to the floor. Extend the left leg long. Bring the right heel close to your right sitting bone. You could even prop up the hips here on a blanket or a block.

You're going to circle the right fingertips to the back of the mat. Inhale the left arm up, and twist right. Hook in the left elbow over the right thigh. If you can, if that doesn't work out, just cradle are right shin with your left elbow. So marichyasana three.

Try to get even through the sitting bones, and turn from deep in the belly. Breathing into the side, even into the back ribs here. On your way out of this twist, bring your right hand to your right ankle. So mindfully open up the right knee to the side. So you actually bring the knee behind you.

But the heel is right next to your hip. Now you can scooch your left foot toward the front of the mat a little bit more. You could even prop up your hips on a blanket. So this is revolved krounchasana. The left elbow comes down.

Kind of like our open janu sirsasana. Inhale the right arm overhead. Drop the right hip, thigh, anchor down. And then you can play with your cactus arms if you like. There's another option here that's fairly interesting.

So the left arm weaves under the right leg to the right ankle. Then the right arm goes overhead to the outside of the left foot. So you're literally trying to lie down on your leg. Peeling the chest open to the sky. But heavy through the right hip.

So a beautiful opening for your connective tissue, your fascia. You can feel a deep stretch through the right QL. Or at least that's what I'm feeling. Then help yourself up. You might even be a little bit dizzy.

This one can bring a lot up for ya. Catch the right ankle with the right hand and bring the right knee forward. So you're helping yourself out of it. And we'll stretch the right leg out and switch sides. So bring the left knee in.

Left heel right up next to the sitting bone. Prop up the hips if necessary. Circle the left hand behind you. Inhale the right arm up. And then start to turn to the left.

Wrap your left shoulder around and reach up through the crown of the head. Try to stay active through your right leg here too. And when you release the twist the left hand comes to the left ankle. You're opening the left knee to the back of the mat. And then scooch your sitting bones back.

So the thighs are beyond 90 degrees in this shape. The right forearm can land on the inside of the right leg, or even prop it up on a block. Sweep the left arm overhead, getting heavy through the left hip. And then you can inhale for the cactus variation. Exhale to go deeper.

Or start to cruise underneath. So you're criss-crossing the arms. Right arm under the left leg, left arm overhead. So you can wing the left elbow back here, kind of like that cactus arm action, to help you get more spinal rotation in your parivrtta krounchasana. Breathing in and out through the nose.

Help yourself up sweetly. Take your leg around. This time we'll close into paschimottanasana. So you can melt into yourself. Breathing into the back body.

You can roll up and lift off, either with your knees bent or the legs straight. Purvottanasana. And then come onto your back for savasana. And celebrating the extra space in the body. And start to deepen your breath.

And wiggle your fingers and your toes. And then just without getting up just yet, flex and point your feet so you feel your body just rock. Rock back and forth on the mat like a little massage. And then you can bring the feet onto the floor and roll to your right side. Meeting in sukhasana.



2 people like this.
some interesting transitions to common poses with slight variations. Good sequence.
3 people like this.
thank you for the creative and fun journeys into familiar shapes. Really nice.
1 person likes this.
Your sequencing is creative and elegant. Love!!!
1 person likes this.
Loved this class!
Today I felt a lovely sense of flow... the transitions seamlessly flow into shapes where we stay for a bit. But the flow never stops... These are beautifully crafted sequences. In gratitude.
Loved this class! Amazing side body opening. I feel so good.

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