Should I Do Full Expression Of A Pose On One Side If I Can’t Do It On The Other Side?

April 2, 2019

Transcript of: Should I do full expression of a pose on one side if I can’t do it on the other side?

Hey everybody! Welcome to another question of the month. You can submit your own question by going to If you’ve got one that you want to submit, then I’ll answer it here on video. This month’s question comes from Elin. She asks about doing the full expression of a pose on one side.

The Question:

I have been practicing Ashtanga for a year. Now it has become very clear that my body is asymmetric regarding flexibility. One concrete example is that I can do full ardha baddha padmottanasana on one side, but on the other side, I cannot bind, far from it. It has been like this for maybe 6 months. So, my question is: should I continue doing the full pose on one side even if I can’t do it on the other? Or, will this increase the asymmetry and be harmful in any way?

The Answer:

Six months is not really long in terms of the life of a practice, just to put it into perspective. And, the short answer is yes. You should still do it on both sides, no matter what, even if that means you only do full expression of a pose on one side. It might be different. In other words, how you do it on both sides might be different, but you should certainly try.

Hip tension

So, I’ve got a couple of other things for you. There are two parts to it. One is, check hip tension. Without seeing you, of course, it’s always harder to answer. But, one of the two basic things is going to be: is there a difference in the hip tension that is leading you to only do the full expression of a pose on one side? I know you recognize the asymmetry in terms of flexibility. But, you want to identify whether or not it’s the hip that’s not as flexible and not allowing the foot to come up high enough.

Shoulder tension

Or, number two, is the shoulder that’s having to reach around your back to grab that foot, the tighter part? And then, the other thing is — and this is a tip I give often and use myself — fold forward before you try to take your arm around your back and try to grab the foot, particularly on that tight side. So, it’s almost as if you would fold about three quarters to halfway down so that your hips are at a 90° angle. Then do a big twist, and then add the arm in.

Or, another way of looking at it is, when you’re seated on the floor, can you bind when you’re seated on the floor? If you can bind when you’re seated on the floor, then that technique that I just described is probably going to work out. You might have to do it on a wall first just to get the feeling of it and take the balance side out of it.

Alright? Hopefully, that helps. See if you can identify where the problem area is. You can always shoot a question in real quick as a follow-up if you like. Otherwise, everyone thanks for watching. If you want to submit your own question, go to

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