In a standing side-bend pose, is it safe or okay to raise the opposite leg?

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asked Aug 26, 2013 by anonymous
During my yoga workouts, I've been adding something to my standing side-bend poses. I'll raise the leg opposite the side that I'm leaning. For example, if I'm leaning to the right, I'll raise my left leg straight out from the side. I find this is a great exercise for my much needed oblique muscles, aka my love handles.

Is this safe to do or would it be better just to stick with the stretch?
   

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answered Aug 30, 2013 by Editor (1,920 points)
Side Bends are meant to produce stretching effects on the lateral sides of the body - lateral abdomen and lateral chest and legs and arms laterally. If you lift the leg, the stretching would be minimised at the lateral side of the body (chest would not be expanded laterally as much as in proper side bending). Therefore, I would to stick with the stretch to have its complete benefit.

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