Extended Side Angle Pose Utthita Parshvakonasana
From Tadasana take the feet wide and parallel. Turn the right foot 90 degrees, so the toes face the top of the mat. Turn the left toes in slightly, to about 45 degrees, towards the front of the mat. Inhale, lift the arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Exhale, release the right knee over the ankle to a 90 degree angle, keeping the back straight and arms extended. Anchor in the left foot, keeping the leg straight and strong. Reaching forward, bring the right hand to the floor on the outside of your knee; take your left hand to your hip. Roll your left shoulder back to open the torso towards the sky. Keeping the torso open, extend the left arm over the left ear, palm down. To exit the pose, press down through both feet; straighten the front leg while reaching back with the left hand to bring the torso vertical. Repeat on the other side.
- Imagine your torso is between an invisible wall to keep hips and ribs stacked.
- If there were eyes on your knee they would be looking at your second toe – to keep the hips open and the knee from collapsing.
- If the front knee is forward of the ankle, either take the back leg back further, or ease up on the forward lunge to make sure the knee is at a 90 degree angle.
- Anchor with the back foot to ease pressure from the front thigh, distribute weight more evenly, and keep the back leg straight.
- Strengthens the legs: ankles, knees, thighs.
- Opens the hips.
- Opens the chest and shoulders.
- Improves digestion.
- Stretches the side body.
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles.
Watch Out For:
- Front knee forward of the ankle.
- Front knee collapsing inwards.
- Top shoulder arching towards the floor.
- Lifted back foot.
- Knee injury.
- Use a block, or a chair, under the bottom hand to give support to reaching the floor.
- For balance assistance, press the outside of the back foot against a wall, or align the entire back against a wall for support.
- Bend the bottom arm and rest it on the front knee.
- For a greater hip opening, take the bottom arm to the floor inside of the inner thigh and press against the leg.
Yoga Counter Poses
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Mountain pose (Tadasana)
Written By: Julie Phillips-Turner, RYT
Julie Teaches many types of yoga around the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland. Her specialties include SUP & Yoga, Yoga for seniors, and developing healing yoga programs for cancer survivors and hospice bereavement programs. You can find her online at www.chesapeakeyoga.com.