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Pose of the Week: Extended Side Angle

Happy Monday and welcome to the first installment of our new Pose of the Week series, where we select a single yoga pose and break it down, explain correct form and its benefits for athletes.

This week’s pose: Extended Side Angle
Utthita Parsvakonasana
(oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna)
utthita = extended
parsva = side, flank
kona = angle

Extended Side Angle

Extended Side Angle with lower arm on the thigh.

Getting into the Pose

From Mountain Pose, step the left foot back, creating a leg’s length stance wide on the mat. Right foot is perpendicular to the top

edge of the mat. Left foot is firmly planted into the mat and turned out about 45 degrees. Hips are square to the side. Tailbone is tucked and belly button is pulled in toward the spine.

Stretch the arms out long, palms face down, with shoulders stacked above the hips. Roll the shoulders down and reach the fingertips to opposite walls.

Bend the right knee and sink the hips straight down toward the ground.

Draw the right elbow down to meet the right thigh and extend the left arm up toward the sky.

Continue to sink the hips as you press evenly through the back leg, connecting to the outer edge of the back foot.

Extended Side Angle 2

Deepen the pose by lowering the bottom arm to the ground on the inside of the front foot.

Deepen the pose by releasing the right hand to the ground on the inside of the right leg. A block or a thick book can be used as a prop here to meet your hand halfway between your thigh and the ground.

Hold and breathe for up to a minute, continuing to sink the tailbone toward the ground and reaching the upper body toward the sky.

Think about stretching in all four directions, feeling lightness and breathing into the pose.

Benefits for Athletes

  • Opens hips
  • Opens shoulders
  • Opens chest
  • Strengthens legs
  • Strengthens back
  • Strengthens abdominals
  • Stretches inner thighs and hamstrings

Common Misalignments & Tips to Keep Good Form

  • Knee moves beyond the ankle or to ether side of the foot and out of line with the middle toes.
    Press the front foot evenly into the ground to feel the center of the food. Gaze down to make sure your knee is in direct alignment with your middle toes.
  • Back foot lifts up.
    Brace the back heel against a wall and as you lower down, imagine pressing the wall away from you. Begin to feel the fullness of the foot connected to the ground.
  • Upper body collapses into the leg or into the ground and the integrity of the pose falls.
    Imagine your back side is glued to a wall. The shoulders are stacked directly above the hips and you are in one long line. As you bend the front knee, allow the upper body to stay in this straight, long line. Reach toward the ceiling and engage your abdominal muscles to keep you strong and lifted. Draw your shoulder blades together. Begin to rotate your chest toward the sky.

The body should be warm before getting into this pose, so complete five to 10 rounds of sun salutations prior, or get into the pose following a workout.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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About Shoshana Hebshi

I write about what interests me, which could be anything from a scrap of mossy wood to a revolution. Mom to twins, Californian living in the American Midwest, wife of fledgling physician and the daughter of an Arab and a Jew.

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