Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 3

Spacious Side Body

30 min - Practice


Open the side body to find a spacious seat for meditation. We move through side bends and twists, explore core stability and space in the hips and legs, and bring the mind back to the breath in seated meditation. You will feel quiet, open, and calm.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


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Hello, welcome to your practice today, I'm Margie and I'm so happy you're here with me. We'll need a blanket for this practice, so get yourself a blanket and once you have it, if you could fold it so that it looks something like this, something like this. Later we're going to put it along our back and I'd like for it to kind of cover part of your spine. If it's a little different, it's fine, but just in this ballpark. And if you don't have a blanket around, a pillow will also do.

And then put that to the side and guess what, we get to start lying down. Always good I think to start lying down and right away we're going to lift the hands and the feet up towards the ceiling and circle your ankles and circle your wrists. Make big circles. Moving the fingers, moving the toes, moving all the little bones in the hands and the feet. Hands and feet are very similar structures, complicated structures and we demand a lot out of them.

So we're just waking them up here. Go in the opposite direction. I always imagine that I'm kind of under the water looking at the seaweed moving above. All right, and then give yourself a big stretch, reaching the arms up and the legs long. Just a real kind of stretch, good morning kind of feeling in your body regardless of what time it is in your day.

I'm going to turn the body into the shape of a banana. So Tohi, scooch your inchworm or inchworm your head over to the right and your feet also over to the right. So if a bird flew overhead, they would see you looking like a sea, hold on to your left wrist, pull a little bit on the left wrist and cross your left ankle over your right ankle. If that feels like too much, you just leave your legs as they were and then soften the bottom front left ribs down a little towards the ground. They won't touch the ground, but just softening of the left side of the body and then your mind's eye, see the big arc that you're making from your left ankle up through the left side of the body to the left wrist and send a few breaths along that left side like a paint brush, whooshing up and down the side of the body.

And then bring yourself over to the other side. Take your time and just go, go just to the point where it feels like a nice stretch. Don't overdo. We're going to do a lot of side bends in this class, so you don't have to start too fiercely. Right ankle crosses over the left, holding on to the right wrist in your mind's eye.

Just see that swoosh of the right wrist through the right side body to the right ankle. Breathing in and breathing out. Little softening of the bottom front ribs and then come back to the center. Give your knees a hug in towards your chest and then either roll to your side to come up or roll forward and back on your spine a few times if that doesn't hurt your spine and come up and we'll take the folded blanket now. Bring it on to the mat and just sit on to your blanket.

All right, so we've already stretched the sides of the body once. Feel your thighs releasing down and the sides of the body long, the sides of the neck long and the crown of the head floating up. Take a deep inhale and a slow steady exhale. Now keeping both sides of the pelvis well rooted into the ground, bring the right hand straight outside the right hip and your left arm and up and over your left ear. For this one, we're going to be really diligent about keeping both sitting bones rooting down and moving away from those roots.

To come up, bring your left arm first down by your left side and then slowly come up letting your head drag up last and then tilt right on over to the second side. Right sitting bone still stays well rooted into the ground. Right arm lengthens and the ribs just like an accordion open. And then bring your right arm down, let the reach of the right arm drag your head back up to the center. This time we're going to change the anchor.

So the anchor on that one was the pelvis, now we're going to anchor with the right forearm. So tip over to the right until your right forearm comes to the ground and reach your left arm up overhead. And now let the left waist lengthen and the left sitting bone goes to or towards the ground. So we just switch the anchor point from the pelvis from the bottom to the arm, the top and then steady breaths into the left side body. If it feels good take time to enjoy, we need to enjoy what's good in this in this world in this life tip over to the second side left forearm finds the ground so the right hip for most of us will lift up a little bit when we tip over to the forearm.

Reach the right arm over and then the release here is low it's the right waist dropping towards the right side of the pelvis dropping towards right sitting bone towards the ground. You don't want to overdo or under do just find a place where you have a nice extension and breath really touching in to that space. Inhale and come up I feel better already I hope you do too alright we're gonna take these long sides come to hands and knees just put your your blanket to the side for a minute and let your spine let your spine circle so the head and the tail circle and this is very kind of freestyle if you had some tunes tunes you could put them on and as you do this be aware of what the sides of the body what the sides of your body are doing when they shorten when they lengthen when they lift when they drop and then come to a neutral spine tuck your toes get your blanket and we're gonna sit back on the heels with the toes tucked under so for many people this is quite torturous for the feet if you use your blanket underneath your knees to lift the knees a little bit it's less stretch on the soles of the feet. If you're a little thing your little toe toe toes didn't quite come along use your hands to pull the little toes forward and then see if you can settle here even if it's intense on the feet it's really good to open the fascia and the soles of the feet and one of my all-time favorite factoids about the body is that the soles of the feet the fascia there is connected all the way up through the back of the body it connects all the way up it goes over the head and the ends right about your eyebrows so I hope that was interesting enough that little piece of science interesting enough to take your attention off of the torture of your feet for some people this is easy but for many of us it's a lot but very good to do all right lift up we're now going to as promised slide the blanket onto the spine and come to hands and knees and we're going to use the blanket here on the spine to help feel that the spine is very stable as we do a little bit of core work so the spine is neutral not cat pose or cow pose the head reaching away from the tail and then take your right foot back put the toes on the ground and then lift your leg up shift your weight to your right hand and reach your left arm up probably the left waist dips down a little bit try to lift the left waist up towards the blanket so that you stay even and then land those limbs bring your attention to the steadiness of your spine left leg goes back left leg lifts and then shift the weight to your left hand so the right arm can reach forward keep the right side of the waist lifting up towards the blanket and then land down we'll go a few times left arm right leg goes inhale extending exhale landing a few times and just be aware as your limbs move away from the midline try to keep the spine really steady have that blanket move as little as possible such a good exercise for core stability and the extra information from the blanket is really helpful to keep the spine steady okay let's pause here hands and knees be steady and then take your right toes back this time take your right leg lift it up cross it across the midline look over your left shoulder so the right foot is off the mat looking over the left shoulder trying to keep that that blanket kind of balanced so not dipping the right hip feel the side bend look over towards that heel back there and then come back to the center second side left leg goes across the midline look over your right shoulder we're side bending whole left side of the body open and then come back to the center okay lift your left hand give it a little shake and then put it down onto the ground here comes an exciting moment of choreography you're going to thread your right arm underneath your left arm and the blanket falls onto the ground we're done with the blanket for now breathe here if there's any variations you like to do interlacing your fingers or reaching one leg back anything that calls to you here we'll come back to the center and then right hand picks up give it a little shake step it off the mat and thread the left arm under threading the needle rolling the right shoulder over the left the right ribs over the left all the while side body stays long and then come up back to hands and knees we'll walk the hands forward about four inches tuck your toes and let your pelvis lift up and back into downward facing dog and in downward facing dog let's bend the knees and pull the pelvis up and back away from your hands really emphasizing the side body get as long and taut on the side body as possible and then from there you can keep your knees bent for sure or if it's up if it's available to you can straighten your legs but try not to lose the space in the sides of the body and then keeping that length in the side body just simply inhale forward to plank look slightly forward and then let your legs pull you back down dog pull back so much that you feel the length of your sides inhale plank exhale thighs pull back vigorously last one like that inhale forward to plank exhale back into downward facing dog from here let's walk the hands all the way back to the feet and then bring your left hand around your right ankle right fingertips off to the side and you could always have out your hand onto a book or a block here and just a little side bend in the forward bend so the spine is draping over the right leg heavy head strong legs and then swoop over to the other side right hand grasps the outer left ankle there's a little more length here through the right side body and the breath moves in and the breath moves out and then come to the center bring your hands to the tops of your thighs press the tops of your thighs back as you lengthen into flat back pause here make sure you're not jamming into the backs of the knees actually top of the shin comes slightly forward and then as you strongly press your thighs back feel how that can open little pockets along the sides of the body as the head moves forward and those thighs are getting helped by the hands to vigorously press back it will drop the tailbone lift the head come up to tadasana mountain pose okay we're gonna do a few half sun salutations with side bend so i'm gonna face you you can face any direction find your mountain pose and then turn your palms to face up out and inhale reach the arms out and up and then as you exhale long side body fold all the way over always find to bend the knees as you inhale elongate your spine flat back as you exhale fold over your legs and then inhale reach your arms out to come all the way up and then side bend over to your rights and sometimes when we side bend we keep the pelvis really try to keep it steady in the middle but for this one let's let the hips slide to the left a bit so it's that banana shape that we started with inhale come up and exhale side bend over to the other side let the pelvis shift right as the head shifts left and then inhale come up both arms are up look up exhale dive over your legs inhale elongate feeling the length of the sides of the body thighs back head forward exhale fold inhale root the feet come all the way up to stand look up and then look forward one more time right hand down side bend this time keep your legs straight but lift your left heel up just a little like a little like a little heel got put underneath like a little high-heeled shoe got stuck underneath your left foot the left heel lifts that tips you a little more to the side and then root the left heel down you might feel the side bend moving lower in your body when you do that from here bring your stay in the side bend bring your right arm up by your right ear and then use the strength of the left side body to bring you up obliques in there getting a little workout side bend over to the left and then the right foot magically has a little heel lift your right heel that tips your upper body more to the side and then we're going to keep the body to the side and reroute down through the right heel from here left arm comes up by the left ear right side body shortens to bring us up look up one more half sun salutation exhale fold inhale so long exhale fold inhale come all the way up and as you exhale release your arms down great step your feet wide apart and bring your hands onto your hips bend your knees slightly and then feel there's a sartorius muscle it goes from the inner knee wraps out towards the outer hip as you straighten your legs feel that muscle engaging and then as you inhale lift your chest look up with extremely long sides come halfway forward breathe in here and as you exhale bring your hands to the mat fold forward and then walk your hands over to your right ankle right leg and pull your body in towards the right leg and then keep holding on to the right ankle but lengthen your spine and reach your right arm up so we're twisting and you can let your pelvis adapt so the left half of the pelvis can drop slightly so that the pelvis and the spine aren't fighting each other here breathing feeling and then bring your right arm down just sweep yourself over to your left leg left ankle draw your spine in towards the left leg and further is not better we're just going for an experience of our body acceptance is a big big piece of this practice patience acceptance kindness right hand keeps holding lengthen the spine left arm goes up towards the ceiling we're twisting rolling the right ribs under the left ribs and then exhale come down come to center and then walk your hands forward bend your knees and then just jump your feet together and come on to your knees and here's another place where you might want to put your blanket underneath your knees we're going to stand up for gate pose so we'll take the right leg out to the side left knee right heel aligned another thing you could do i actually like to do this also with my blanket or a little prop to put a little support underneath the ball of the foot and then the right hand slides down the right leg left arm up and over the left ear so many delicious side bends give space to the spine to the heart to the lungs when we sit in a few minutes in meditation come up bring your hands in front of you cross your right knee behind your left knee for gomukhasana you separate your feet walk back sit in between your two heels and here's one if this is too much you can sit with your legs simply crossed with the left leg in front you could also be sitting onto your blanket knees stacked here left over right sometimes i use my hands to stack them as clearly as possible from here we'll rotate twist left with the right forearm to the left knee thigh area left hand behind you and in this twist the central channel is turning and the sides of the body are long and in a moment when you untwist try not to shrink at all feel as matter of fact feel as if you're spiraling upwards coming out now like an old-fashioned barbershop pole spiraling up and then drape your spine forward for two breaths inhale exhale one inhale exhale two and then use your hands walking yourself back to come up and let's just swing the left leg open to the left pull your right thigh open to the right and then slide the left forearm down now if you can tip and bring your left forearm to the ground do that or put it on your leg also fine or you could be higher also but get the forearm as down as rooted as possible and then the right arm up and over the right ear and you can let the right sitting bone get a little bit light to help your upper body move to the side and then as we do in the beginning of class once you get your upper body where it is release through the right waist right side of the pelvis oh so glorious and then look down let your spine roll in the center i like the way i like to come out this way it feels very soft and therapeutic on my spine and then come up and we'll do those big exciting hip openers and side bends to the second side i'm using the block underneath my foot coming up onto the knees left foot is right in line with the right knee paragasana gate pose the left hand and the right hand are closing towards each other see what it feels like here to firm the right glute give yourself a little stability in the midst of all of the the spacious stretching maybe the right ribs roll back a little more and then inhale come up hands forward pick up your left leg slide the left knee behind the right knee separate your feet and take a seat here in gomukhasana if you can the heels are evenly spaced from the sides of the pelvis knees are stacked as i said before sitting cross-legged is fine this is really a lot for most people's hips so if you want to sit cross-legged if that works better for you it's fine we'll twist right as you inhale feel the sides of the body long and as you exhale from the center feel the rotation coming looking over the right shoulder inhalation is about space and the sides and the exhalation about turning and then again when you come out feel tall and spacious and then drape yourself over your legs any amount two breaths inhale exhale one inhale exhale two use your hands to bring you up slide the right leg open to the right pull the left thigh wide to the left and then side bending is our last last side bend of this practice right forearm on the floor or on the leg and then the left arm goes up and over the left ear and again i'm allowing the pelvis to tip a little bit for the sake of moving the upper body and then once i get the upper body over to the side a few breaths encouraging the length down through the waist through the left side of the pelvis feeling my body you feel yours look down roll the spine down in the center and then walk your hands up bring your feet into bhata konasana let's just lie down for a breath or two in bhata konasana so you can use your blanket there for a little pillow and as you're here relaxing and resting into the ground take a few breaths and of course the front of the body will move in the back but be mindful of how the sides of the body move with a few long smooth breaths we'll move to a meditation you're welcome to bring your knees together and straighten your legs and doing a do a lying down meditation which is a little different than shavasana because the mind is a little a little bit more awake or come up and join me sitting i'm going to sit on the folded blanket and i'm going to get my bell because at the end of the meditation i'll ring a bell and when that happens you listen to the sound of the bell so finding your position for meditation and i think one of the tenets of meditation is to be kind and friendly to yourself so the mind attempts to stay present but it also habituated to thinking so it's not a problem when you're thinking you just notice it the great buddhist teacher pamachodran says good for you you noticed your mind wandering just bring it back it doesn't have to be any drama or praise just keep bringing your attention back even if you have to feel like you have to do it 100 times in one minute go back to body the feeling of being here with such long sides rooted base and in between those long sides a spacious heart current Remembering to kindly bring your attention back. And we'll listen together to the sound of the bell staying right here.

Let's take a deep, full breath in together. And then bring your hands onto your heart, either placed together or in the prayer pose. I'm going to invite you to remember to lengthen your sides at your next meal, during your next meeting, your next visit with the cashier at the grocery store. Remember side body long so that we can have space for the heart and lungs. Thank you so much for joining me.

See you again soon. Namaste.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
So happy to practice with you again Margi ❤️. This class was so beautiful and I’m feeling open and receptive and ready for my busy day ahead.  You always bring innovative things to the table, in this case literally the “table”…loved the feedback from the blanket 😉 Thank You 🙏🏻🪴
Fabian H
2 people like this.
Love this practice:))
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Great way to start the day! Wonderful practice with your informational input and brief meditation.
Margi Young
1 person likes this.
Fabian H Thanks Fabian! There are more to come. Hope you continue to practice and enjoy. Margi
Margi Young
1 person likes this.
Jenny S If the yoga practice has set you up well for you day it is working perfectly. Yay! More to come. Be well and thanks for chiming in. Warmly, Margi
Michelle F
1 person likes this.
Hi Margi,
That was a lovely wee session - thank you...longer sides, what´s not to love about that!
Have a beautiful day
Tamsen Y
1 person likes this.
what a wonderful practice! I feel so loooooongggg!
Kate M
S P  A   C    E
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Margi, for this nice practice! Namaste! 💖
Margi Young
1 person likes this.
Kate M Y    E    SSSSSSSS
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