Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
March 30, 2015
Extended Triangle Pose
March 30, 2015

Extended Side Angle Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Utthita Parsvakonasana
(oo-TEE-tah parsh-wah-cone-AHS-anna)
utthita = extended
parsva= side, flank, lateral
kona = angle

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and side body
  • Strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as the hips, knees, and ankles
  • Improves stamina
  • Relieves low back pain, menstrual pain, and sciatica
  • Massages the abdominal organs
  • Opens the chest and shoulders

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Headache
  • Irregular blood pressure (high or low)
  • Insomnia
  • Shoulder injury
  • Neck injury (avoid gazing upward)

HOW TO

  1. Begin in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) with your right foot forward.
  2. Spiral your right thigh outward, aligning the knee over the ankle. Engage your abdomen, drawing the tailbone under and toward the pelvis. Ground the right heel and the outer edge of your left foot evenly into the mat.
  3. Place your right hand down outside of your right foot, and press your fingertips or palm onto the floor. Press the knee against the inner arm.
  4. Extend your left arm straight up from the shoulder to the sky. With an inhale, flip your palm to face the floor and reach your arm overhead, aligning your left bicep over your left ear.
  5. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, and lengthen the entire left side of your body. Reach forward through the fingertips while grounding the outer edge of your left foot down.
  6. Exhale and rotate your torso to the left, opening your chest toward the sky. Gaze toward your left arm.
  7. Stay in Extended Side Angle for up to a minute. Inhale and come back into Warrior II to release the posture. Repeat with the left foot forward.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Place your hand on a block if you cannot reach the floor.
  • If the block does not suffice, bring your forearm to your thigh.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep your extended leg strong and straight.
  • Draw your shoulders down, away from your ears.
  • On your inhale, lengthen the side body. On your exhale, rotate the torso, reaching your heart toward the sky.
  • Make sure your knee isn’t bent past your ankle.
  • Ground down through the outer edge of your back foot.

VARIATIONS

  • For a deeper twist, bind the hands. Drop your left arm behind your back, and reach your right arm underneath your thigh until your hands meet.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Upper shoulder collapsing down
  • Collapsing through the side body
  • Lifting the outer back heel
  • Front knee falling inward