Extended Side Angle Pose - Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle Pose is great to strengthen your legs, core and upper torso all at once. For a greater challenge, take a wider stance and sink the hips down further. Also for more challenge, choose the variation with your arm reaching up and forward, past your head. This will bring more weight over your bent leg and make you work harder.
But if you wish to practice a less demanding posture, opt for a variation with more support.
- Start with your feet 3 to 4 feet apart.
- Rotate your right foot outward 90 degrees to point your toes toward the top of your mat.
- Line up the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot.
- As you inhale, lengthen the spine and raise both arms up, parallel to the floor.
- On your exhale, bend the right knee and lower your right hand down to the floor, in front of your foot. Or, for more challenge, place your hand in front of your leg or ankle, without touching the floor, as shown above.
For a greater challenge, sink your hips down until you create a straight line from your left hand, all the way through your left ankle. Then, lengthen.
- Keep your right knee lined-up with your middle toe and roll your left thigh outward.
- Reach up above your head with your left arm, palm facing down.
- Open the chest to the front. Do not let your upper shoulder collapse or roll down.
- To come out of the pose, reach up and toward your left leg with your left arm. At the same time, straighten your right knee.
Variation - Hand on Block
Place your right hand on a block or place your right elbow on top of your knee for support. Choose one of these 2 options if:
- It is difficult to reach all the way to the floor;
- You would like or need some support;
- If your chest tends to roll forward and down when trying to reach the floor. In this case, practice opening your left hip and your chest up.
Variation - Hand behind Front Foot
Try placing your lower hand and arm behind your foot, instead of in front. This is a very common or popular way of practicing Side Angle Pose. If you choose this option, your front knee may tend to shift in. Try not to let this happen. Keep it in line with your middle toe by pressing your chest and shoulders back and out of the way.
Main Target / Benefits
- Strengthens the quadriceps.
- Strengthens the core muscles.
- Opens the hips and shoulders.
- Avoid letting your front knee past your toes to protect your knee.