250 AN ATOM* Of HATHA iOCA
the standing side bend with feet together
For a whole-body side bend, stand with your feet together, including both the heels and big toes. Lift your hands overhead as in the whole-body backwarc bend, with the fingers interlocked and the palms tightly together. Lock tilt forearms and then pull the arms backward until they are even with the ears Create a firm base with the lower extremities by tensing all the thigl muscles and squeezing the hips together as tightly as you can. Then lif and stretch the upper extremities, and at the same time bend to the side i a minimal arc (fig. 4.27J. You should lift so strongly with both arms an hands that when you bend to the right, the right arm does not feel weak i comparison with the left, and when you bend to the left, the left arm den not feel weak in comparison with the right. You will feel a whole-body ber from your ankles to your fingertips, with stretch throughout the side opposi to which you are bending. Don't relax anywhere; if you ease up on yoi effort even slightly, the emphasis changes from a whole-body bend to a sii bend that is felt mostly in the lower thoracic region of the vertebral colum
Figure 4.27. Whole-body side bend, wilh priorities sel by concentrating on lifting the hands as high as possible as in the overhead stretch (fig. 4.17) and maintaining equal strength in the two upper extremities. Assuming that both feet are planted firmly and that the lower extremities are the same length, no bending can occur at the hips. It's all in the spine.
i STANDING POSTI IKES 251
Notice as well that the posture changes character if you place your feet even a few inches apart.
standing side bends with feet apart
Now we'll turn to side bends that are comparable to externally and internally supported forward bends. The movements for side bending are more limited than for forward bending, but some of the principles are similar. To illustrate: with your feet a comfortable distance apart (about two feet) and parallel, bend straight to your right while grasping your right thigh. Keep the body true to a frontal plane: bending straight to the side implies that you are keeping the hips facing the front. By contrast, if you let the right hip drop to the rear as you bend, you will shift from a relatively pure side bend to a combination of a side bend, twist, and forward bend. Watching carefully, notice that part of the bend is taking place at the hip joint on the side to which you are bending, and that the rest is taking place in the spine. As with supported forward bends, settle your right hand in a position on the thigh that allows you to remain relaxed
Figure 4.28. Side bend supported by the right upper extremity. As with externally supported forward bends, this is a comparatively relaxed posture. With each thigh abducted about only that much bending (by definition) 's occurring at the hip; •he rest is taking place •n the spine.
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