Extended Side Angle Pose / Utthita Parsvakonasana
Step by step
- Stand facing the long side of your mat with your feet about a leg’s distance apart. The heels in line with each other.
- Turn your right foot out so your toes are pointing to the short edge of the mat and turn your left toes in about 45 degrees.
- Exhale bend your right knee, thigh parallel to floor.
- Check that your knee is above the ankle in line with the first two toes. Ground the base of the big toe but roll the thigh out towards the little toe side of the foot.
- Take a deep inhale and firm your lower belly in and up.
- Exhale extend your body out over the right leg, then bring your right arm down, either with your elbow to your right thigh or place your hand on the floor outside of the right foot.
- Reach your left arm up to the ceiling, palm facing to the front.
- Press the outside of your left foot actively into the floor, roll your right buttock under slightly.
- Keep the spine long, neck long and in line with the spine, look straight ahead.
- Then roll your outer upper left arm toward your face and reach your arm over the head, next to the left ear, palm facing down.
- Extend from the outside of the left heel through the left fingertips. If your neck allows you can look up from underneath the left armpit to the ceiling.
- Revolve the ribcage up towards the ceiling.
- Press firmly through the feet, with the foundation stable, your spine can be light and your face soft.
- Hold this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 breaths.
- To come out of this pose: Press actively into your feet, and on an inhalation strongly extend through the left arm as you come back up to straight.
- Step your feet back to the front of the mat in Tadasana / Mountain Pose, or reverse the direction of your feet to do the same pose on the other side.
- Instead of bringing the fingertips to the floor, rest your forearm on your thigh (of the bent knee) or use a block outside the front foot to support your hand.
- Really press through both of the feet to make your foundation strong.
- Strengthens and stretches the legs, ankles and knees.
- Increases flexibility in the shoulders.
- Works the core muscles.
- Opens the chest.
Watch out for
- Try not to crunch the side waist as your bend. If this is happening rest your forearm on your thigh or use a block as suggested in the beginners tips.
- For neck injuries, skip turning your head to look at the top arm. Keep looking straight ahead. Also you can keep your left hand on your hip instead of lifting the arm up and over to the right.
- To get more of a stretch in the front groin you can perform this pose with the lower arm in front of the bent knee. The back of your right shoulder should be pressing against the inner side of the bent knee. Push your shoulder firmly into the knee and lean your torso against your thigh. Lengthen your side ribs.
- The body's weight always tends to shift to the ball of your front foot. To counteract this tendency try lifting the ball of the front foot and feeling once again the anchor of your back foot. Resist the floor with your back foot while allowing the top of your back thigh bone sink more deeply into the hip. Then let the ball of the front foot rest back on the floor.
- Complementary poses
- Try it in class