Extended Side Angle Pose

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Utthita Parsvakonasana

In this Sanskrit phrase, “utthita” means extended, “parsva” means side or flank and “kona” means angle. Extended Side Angle Pose stretches your side back and arm muscles.

 

How to: Extended Side Angle

Begin by spacing your feet 3 to 4 feet apart. Then lift your arms so that they are aligned to the ground with palms facing downwards. The left foot should be pointed to the right and the right foot should be set out at 90 degrees.
Firmly place the left heel (which is backwards in this yoga pose). Exhale and twist your right knee around the right ankle. The right thigh should be aligned to the ground.

Raise your left arm upwards and then bring it in line with your left ear’s back while inhaling. Your palm should be facing the ground. Now stretch the entire length of your body and move you head to look at the left wrist. Make sure there is adequate length on your torso’s right while you do this pose on the left.

Exhale while your left heel is on the ground and bring your torso’s right portion near to the right thigh. Now push your right fingertips on the ground near your right leg. Make sure that your right thigh is in alignment with the longer side of your yoga mat.

Remain in this position from 30 to 60 seconds. For increased power and stability in the pose, always come up on an inhalation. Also press your heels firmly into the ground to make this movement smooth and easy. Now you can switch the feet and repeat the same procedure for the other leg. After that, come back to the original yoga pose of Tadasana, or “Mountain Posture,” standing erect with your legs, heels, and feet together, gazing straight ahead, with your palms together at your chest in Anjali Mudra, or the “Prayer Position.

 

Benefits of the Extended Side Angle Pose

The following are the major benefits resulting from regular use of Utthita Parsvakonasana:

  • It strengthens and defines the muscles of legs, ankles and knees.
  • It assists in stretching the area around groin, waist, lungs, spine and shoulders.
  • It results in digestive system enhancement by stimulating the abdominal organs.
  • It imparts greater stamina and energy.


For a layman, the primary benefit of Extended Side Angle Pose is that it stretches the lateral part of the body. Along with that, the groin and shoulders are also stretched. The shoulder muscles include the rotator cuff, while the spinal muscles rhomboideus minor and major (commonly known as “rhomboids”) are stretched adequately. The latissimus dorsi is a big muscle attached to various bones in your spine behind the ribs, which is also deeply stretched. All of these muscles play as important role in maintaining a healthy, pain-free back and a strong core.

For athletes, this yoga pose is beneficial in primarily massaging and stimulating the abdominal organs. This is important because the digestive system is the source of 50-75% of the body’s energy production, immunity and repair.  This pose can be a warm-up to stretch the muscles of the back and ankles, which are prone to injury in athletes. The increase of endurance and stamina is helpful in every sport.

Before practicing Extended Side Angle Pose, consult with a capable yoga instructor, and practice it with caution if you suffer from the below problems:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • High or low blood pressure

 

Experience this pose in a relaxed and calm environment.

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