Extended Side Angle, or Utthita Parsvakonasana, is a pose that requires full-body strength. As with many postures, you can intensify or modify this stretch depending on your level of experience and flexibility. We’ll offer those suggestions here, as well as basics of the pose.
PURPOSE OF THE POSE
Stretches the hips and chest. Helps strengthen the lower body and core.
- Start in Warrior 2 with your right foot forward. Your lower body will remain exactly the same as in Warrior 2 throughout the pose
- Move into Side Angle Pose by lightly resting your forearm on your front thigh
- Reach your left arm up. Then, extend your arm over your ear. Turn your thumb up and your pinky down
- Continue to plant your feet down to the mat as your reach up
- Lean back slightly to gently twist your chest and core open
- Press your right knee open toward your pinky toe
- As you reach over your ear, keep the muscles in your core active and lengthen your spine
- For an intensification, try reaching your hand to the floor or to a yoga block placed in front of your foot. If it feels like you’re straining, bring your forearm back to your thigh
- Return to Warrior 2, then Downward Facing Dog
- Switch sides
Avoid using your arm as a crutch. Try not to press your arm into your leg for support. Instead, rest it lightly on your thigh and use the strength of your core to support you.
When you’re ready to try this full-body strengthener, start by holding for a few breaths, then build up over time.