stick figure performing extended side angle pose in yoga

extended side angle – utthita parsvakonasana

Extended side angle (utthita parsvakonasana in Sanskrit) is a yoga pose that creates a tremendous stretch in the side body and engages many essential muscle groups.

extended side angle – set up

  • From downward facing dog, step the right foot to the inside of the right thumb
  • Pivot the left foot so that it is parallel with the back edge of the mat
  • Move the right hand to the inside of the right knee and press fingertips or palm into the floor (or block)
  • Reach the left arm up toward the ceiling to get length, then reach the left fingertips to the front of the room, palm facing down

extended side angle – working within the pose

upper body

  • Release right shoulder away from ear
  • Keep the left arm active and fingertips reaching to accentuate the side body stretch
  • Continue drawing left shoulder back and revolving heart toward the sky

mid & lower body

  • Keep as much length as possible through both sides of the torso
  • Continue revolving chest and torso away from right knee; keep drawing left shoulder back
  • Ground down the outer edge of the left foot – lift the left inner ankle
  • Actively push right knee into right arm and vice versa

extended side angle – modifications

  • If reaching the floor is an issue, use a block or rest forearm on thigh
  • For more of a shoulder and chest opening, try bound side angle
  • For more of a core challenge, extend your bottom hand in the same direction as your upper hand – both sets of fingertips pointed toward front of the room, palms facing one another

extended side angle – benefits

  • Provides a tremendous stretch to the side body, inner thighs and groins
  • Strengthens quads and hamstrings
  • Strengthens ankles, knees, hips
  • Effective in relieving low back pain, sciatica
  • Chest and shoulder opening
  • Relieves stiffness in shoulders & back
  • Increases stamina

extended side angle – contraindications

  • Shoulder or neck injury
  • Migraines
  • High/low blood pressure

Looking for more poses? How about hanumanasana (splits) or navasana (boat pose)? Here’s the full selection.

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