[Pose Of the Week] Extended Side Angle Pose (Beginner)

Stretch and strengthen your entire body and improve your balance and stamina with Extended Side Angle Pose…

Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) is a beginner level standing yoga pose that helps to build strength throughout the body, improves balance and focus, and stretches the legs, spine, and abdominal area. This pose may also help to relieve back pain and stimulate the abdominal organs.

With a particular focus on the hips, pelvis, legs, knees, and ankles, the pose also helps tone the arms, shoulders, and waist, and is thought to be therapeutic for constipation, infertility, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort. This is also a great preparatory pose for other leg and groin stretches such as Bound Angle Pose.

Extended Side Angle Pose is suitable for most people, but those who suffer from headaches, insomnia, knee injuries, or high or low blood pressure should avoid this pose. If you have a recent neck injury or chronic neck pain, do not turn your head in the pose – instead, keep your gaze straight ahead and your neck aligned.

Here are some instructions from YogaToday.com:

STEP 1 – Begin in Warrior II with your right leg forward, toes facing the front edge of the mat and back toes rotating slightly inward. Keep your torso facing the left edge of the mat and start to bring the torso down over the front leg.

STEP 2 – Drop your right hand to the mat or a block outside of the right foot. Externally rotate your left arm, bringing the left arm overhead and reaching the fingers towards the front of the mat. Keep your inner left arm alongside your ear. Draw your shoulders down your back and broaden through your collar bones.

STEP 3 – Spin the left palm down to face the ground. Direct your right sitting bone back towards the inner left heel. Engage the left thigh by internally rotate your left thigh, and rotate your rib cage and heart towards the sky. Repeat the pose on your second side.

To modify this pose, you can rest your elbow on your thigh, or rest your hand on a block for support (see example here). Here are a few more tips from YogaOutlet.com:

  • If it’s difficult to keep your back heel on the floor, practice with your back heel against a wall. As you bend your front knee into the pose, imagine that you’re pressing the wall away from you with your heel.
  • If your front fingertips don’t reach the floor, you can either rest your hand on a yoga block or bring your forearm to your front thigh. Be sure that your torso does not drop forward. Make the adjustment you need to keep your chest, hips, and legs aligned.
  • If your hips are very tight, shorten your stance and straighten your front leg to a degree that is comfortable as you work on gaining flexibility.
  • If your hips are very flexible, make sure your front shin stays vertical. Widen your stance as needed to make sure that your knee does not move forward past your ankle.


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