(Extended Side Angle Pose)
utthita = extended
parsva = side, flank
kona = angle
This yoga pose is an intense groin, hip, and side opener. A strengthener of the entire length of the body, this yoga exercise is a mixture of Triangle Yoga Pose and Warrior II Yoga Posture. This is to be practiced only when the thighs and hips have been strength.This yoga pose is an intense groin, hip, and side opener.
Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
Stimulates the Abdominal Organs
Immoderate Blood Pressure
If you have any neck problems don’t turn your head to look at the top arm; instead look straight ahead with the sides of the neck lengthened evenly, or look down at the floor.
Performing the Asana
Stand in Tadasana. On an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet just wider than hip distance apart. Raise your arms laterally out to the sides, shoulder blades pressed in towards the spins and palms down. Turn your back toes out to the right 90 degrees and front toes forward (as in Pyramid Posture). Align the front heel with the in-step of the back foot. Firm and lift through your thighs and turn your forward thigh outward, so that the center of the kneecap is in line with the center of the right ankle. The hips will roll under slightly and chest up.
The belly button pulls slightly in towards the spine as you exhale to bend your forward knee into a lunge, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. That thigh will be about parallel to the floor.
Pressing into your forward heel, gently shift your weight onto that side of your torso and shift towards your forward thigh. That same side fingertips (hand) rest to the outside of the foot. The arm and thigh balance against one another and the hips tuck slightly for balance.
The shoulder blades press back and in towards the spine as the opposite arm extends upwards and over the head. The palm faces the ground. Inhale and lengthen from the outside of the back foot through the open side of the body.
Stay for 3 Complete Breaths. Inhale to come up. 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 for the same length of time to the left. Return to Tadasana.
Modify Your Practice
Here’s an exercise that will help you get a feel for the proper action of the front thighbone in this pose. Buckle a strap into a medium-size loop and slip it over your front leg. Then perform steps 1 and 2 in the main description of this pose. Snug the strap into the right groin, into the crease where the thigh joins the pelvis (make sure the strap isn’t touching the floor). Then hang a 10-pound weight from the loop, and complete the movement into the pose. Let the head of the right thighbone, which is just below the strap, sink into the weight toward the floor. Use this action to align the thigh parallel to the floor, ground the heels, and further lengthen the spine, especially along the right (lower) side.
Variations You can also perform this pose with the lower arm in front of the bent-knee thigh. This will help create more stretch in the front groin. As you lower your torso to the side, bring the back of your right shoulder against the inner knee, and press your fingertips to the floor. Push the shoulder firmly into the knee and lean your torso back against the inner thigh. Lengthen your side ribs along the inner top thigh.
Complimentary Yoga Poses
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downwards Facing Dog Asana
Supta Baddha Konasana - Reclining Bound Angle Posture
Prasarita Padottanasana - Standing Wide Angle Stretch
Supta Virasana - Reclining Hero Pose
Supta Padangusthasana - Reclining Big Toe Stretch
Trikonasana - Triangle
Virabhadrasana II - Warrior II
Virasana - Hero Pose
Tips for Beginners
Beginners often have two problems with this pose: they can’t keep their back heel anchored to the floor as they bend their front knee into the pose, and then they can’t easily touch the fingertips of their lower hand to the floor once they’re in the pose. To solve the first problem, brace your back heel against a wall. As you bend the front knee and then lower your torso to the side, imagine that, with your heel, you’re pushing the wall away from you. For the second problem either rest your forearm on the top of the bent-knee thigh (instead of trying to touch the hand to the floor), or use a block outside the front foot to support your hand.
Deepen the Pose
For a deeper stretch, bring the forward hand to the inside (in front) of the active foot for a greater twist.
For advanced students, shift the weight into the pelvis and core as the forward arm bends towards the mid-back. The upper arm also sweeps slowly behind until your fingers can clasp together. Continue to lift through the chest and balance between the two feet from toe to heel.
A partner can help you get a feel for the work of the back leg in this pose. Perform step 1 in the main description of this pose. Have your partner stand at your back leg, facing you, and loop a strap around your back inner groin (she can also brace your back heel with the inside of one foot). As you bend the front knee your partner should firmly pull the strap against the inner groin, resisting it opposite to the movement of the front leg. Then as you lean to the bent-knee side, she should continue to pull on the strap, helping you to keep your weight back, on the back leg and heel.