Yoga Pose: Extended Side Angle - Four Ways!
Extended Side Angle - Parsvakonasana - is one of my favorite poses to do. It has plenty of benefits, including strengthening and stretching the legs, hips, feet and ankles, all while opening the shoulders and chest. This pose can be quite challenging, especially for beginners, so I have provided four variations for you to try depending on your limitations and where you are at in your Yoga practice! Keep reading to learn the steps to move in to this beautiful pose.
Difficulty Level: Beginner-Advanced
Step One: Begin by taking a wide step on the mat - at least Warrior 2 feet spacing - making sure the baby toe edges of your feet are parallel with the short edges of the mat.
Step Two: Turn your right foot out 90 degrees.
Step Three: With an inhale, bring your arms up to shoulder height - reaching through the finger tips so the arms are strong. With an exhale, deeply bend into your right knee, bringing the knee in line with the ankle.
To move into Variation 1 - Great for Beginners! - Side bend from your right hip crease and bring your right forearm to rest on the top of the right thigh. Stretch your left arm over your head, reaching forward through the fingertips. *Important* Make sure you aren't pulling or pushing your right knee in or out with the weight of your forearm, keep the knee in line with the ankle and try not to put too much weight on the thigh. Head can be turned to face up if that's comfortable in your neck, or can stay neutral if you have any pain or tension in the neck.
To move into Variation 2 - Great for more advanced Beginners! - Side bend from your right hip crease and bring your hand to a block in front* of the right leg. Stretch the left arm over head, reaching forward through the left fingertips. Think about rotating your chest up toward the sky.
*We place the hand in front of the leg to keep the knee from collapsing inward. You can place the hand behind the leg if you are able to steady the leg and keep it in alignment.
To move into Variation 3 - Great for intermediate yogi's - Side bend from your right hip crease and bring your right hand to the floor in front of or behind the right leg. Stretch the left arm overhead and rotate your chest up and open toward the sky. Think about creating a diagonal line from your left foot all the way up to your left hand.
To move into Variation 4 - Great for more advanced yogi's - Side bend from your right hip crease and bring your right arm in front of the right leg, palm facing behind you. Reach your left arm behind your back, palm facing away from you, and grasp your left wrist or hand with the right - coming into a "bind". Rotate your chest up and open to the sky.
Repeat on each side! If you try this pose for the first time, take a photo and tag me @sandrayogawpg on Instagram!