Extended Side Angle
Sanskrit: Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana) is a powerful and dynamic full body pose which provides a deep stretch for the side body. Your legs need to be strong and your hips open which makes it a challenging posture for beginners, especially when you may not feel particularly co-ordinated or stable. As you practice Extended Side Angle you will find plenty of modifications and variations to continue to develop your pose.
You will often transition into Extended Side Angle from Warrior II or Reverse Warrior. All have the same leg position and work well together.
How to get into the pose:
From Mountain Pose, inhale to Extended Mountain and then exhale to step your feet wide and bring your arms to shoulder height
The width of your step depends on your height, balance and flexibility. Ideally it’s a wide step, ankles approximately under your wrists but bring your feet closer together if you feel unstable or until you feel confident to take a wider step
Turn your right foot to 12 o’clock (90 degrees) and draw your left foot inward so that your toes point half way towards your right foot
Exhale right elbow or forearm to just above your knee
Inhale to sweep your left arm down and then up, creating a “line” from your left ankle to left fingers
Keep your back leg strong, don’t let the knee drop
Your gaze point must be comfortable for your neck
To release the pose, inhale to straighten the front leg and bring your feet back to parallel.
Repeat the pose on the left side then return to Extended Mountain pose on an inhale and then to Mountain pose on an exhale .
Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.
How long to stay in the pose:
Five to ten breaths
Under your top armpit
Variations / Challenge yourself:
Bring your right hand to the floor or a block placed inside the right foot
Take a bind
Take Bird of Paradise pose
Your teacher can advise on Bound Side Angle and Bird of Paradise which are poses in their own right
Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:
Decrease the bend in the front knee
Shorten the width of your feet
Contraindications / Cautions:
Be cautious with this pose if you have a knee injury or are recovering from knee surgery
Be cautious with this pose if you have an ankle injury or are recovering from ankle surgery
Be cautious with this pose if you have a groin strain or injury
High blood pressure