Extended Side Angle Pose — Utthita Parsvakonasana
In extended side angle pose, both feet are firmly rooted into the floor, while the heart and head twist upwards towards the sky. Utthita Parsvakonasana grounds and strengthens while simultaneously opening us up to grace and surrender. This standing pose is an excellent preparation for deep hip opening poses, and one of the few standing poses that engages the side of the torso. Lengthening and opening the heart in Utthita Parsvakonasana can help dispel fears and insecurities.
Extended (Utthita) Side (Parsva)
Angle (Kona) Pose (Asana)
Come to a wide stance facing the long side of the mat. Turn in the left foot slightly and the right foot out to 90 degrees. Either line up the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot, or align the right heel with the left heel for more stability.
Firm your thighs, ground the left heel, and align the right knee with the right ankle. Bend your right knee over the right ankle. The knee is pointing straight ahead and the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the right thigh parallel to the mat. Place the right fingertips or hand on the floor along the outside edge of the foot, with fingers pointing in the same direction as the toes.
Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, turn the left palm to face toward your head and reach the arm overhead, palm facing down. Beginners may need to increase their stance at this point to form a diagonal line from the left foot all the way up to the left hand.
Keeping the base of the right big toe grounded, actively push the right knee back against the inner arm. Ground the outer arch of the left foot, and press the top of the back thigh back, keeping the leg straight and strong.
Keep both legs working evenly, pressing into both feet.
Spin belly and chest up toward the ceiling and stretch from the left heel through the left fingertips, lengthening the entire left side of the body.
Turn the head to face the raised arm, and release the right shoulder away from the ear.
Push both heels strongly into the floor and reach the left arm forcefully toward the ceiling to lighten the upward movement.
Reverse the feet and repeat to the left.
The floor may be raised to meet the grounding hand by placing a block outside of the front foot to support the hand.
For Ardha Parsvakonasana, the front forearm is placed on the thigh.
In case of neck issues gaze straight ahead.
– Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles.
– Stretches the groins, spine, waist, shoulders, chest and lungs.
– Stimulates the abdominal organs.
– Activates the Navel Chakra.
– Relieves mental and emotional stress.
– Increases stamina.
– Dispels fear and insecurity.
– Severe back conditions.
– Low blood pressure.
– Heart Condition: Practice against a wall. Keep the top arm on the hip.
– High blood pressure: Turn the head to gaze downward in the final pose.
– Neck problems: Don’t turn the head to look upward; continue looking straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck evenly long.