Yoga Poses

Straight Angle Pose Samakonasana

Steps

Straight angle pose is a wide legged seated straddle, sometimes practiced as double splits. Straight angle pose is an advanced asana, typical of  Ashtanga, Yin yoga or Vinyasa inspired Ashtanga. This pose requires time and patience, but its rewards are many. Straight angle Pose is the ultimate hip opener, improving flexibility of hip rotators and stretching the entire leg from hip to toe.

Begin in a seated position with your legs extended along the floor (staff pose). Spread the legs as wide as is comfortable. Flex the feet with toes pointing upward. Lift the torso up and out of the hips. Relax the shoulders and straighten back and spine. Bring hands to prayer and gaze to fingertips. To exit the pose, release the hands to the ground and draw legs together, returning to staff pose. Repeat daily to improve flexibility.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Somatic yoga theory says that many emotions are stored in the hips. Straight angle pose seeks to release those emotions. On the inhale, breathe into the stretch; on the exhale release all tension. Relax and enjoy the space created by the absence of emotion.

Technical Comments

From staff pose, slide hands under buttocks and move the flesh aside to balance on the sit bones. Next, using both hands gently draw one leg and then the other to a wide V (as much as is comfortable- do not strain). Using the hands begin turning the flesh and muscles of the upper thigh outwards. Do this for both legs.

Benefit Comments

  • Stretches and strengthens hips, groin, inner thighs, hamstrings and calves
  • Improves flexibility of abductors and lateral hip muscles
  • Stimulates spinal nerves and relieves lower back pain
  • Reduces hip pain
  • Improves circulation and blood blow to abdominal area
  • Tones abdominals, hips and glutes

Watch Out For:

  • Tight or painful groins, hamstrings, hips (move to a more comfortable straddle)
  • Slouching back (sit upright against a wall or bolster)

Contraindications

  • Some hip injuries
  • Some lower back and sciatica issues

Modifications

  • Open the legs only as far as is comfortable
  • Sit on a blanket or block to lift pelvis
  • Sit against a wall for back support
  • Sit facing a wall, sliding feet along for an extra stretch

Variations

  • Begin in a standing wide straddle, bring the hands to ground under shoulders, slowly slide feet away from body

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Bridge pose
  • Wheel pose
  • Fish pose
  • Seated forward bend

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga

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