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Feature Pose: Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)





Are you familiar with Side Angle Pose? In this blog post, I’ll share the benefits of side angle pose and provide tips for mastering it in your practice. The modifications here make the pose accessible for most people, regardless of skill level or experience. Read on with me to discover tips for mastering this empowering asana!

 

How to Do Side Angle Pose

 

Utthita Parsvakonasana is a powerful standing pose that offers a deep stretch to the entire body. It not only strengthens the legs and core muscles but also stretches the chest and shoulders and improve balance, stamina, and flexibility.

 

Follow these four steps to position take Utthita Parsvakonasana:

 

Step 1: Begin in Warrior B, with your hips facing the long edge of your mat. Your knee should form approximately a 90-degree angle over your ankle.

 

Step 2: On an exhale, hinge left until you can rest your (left) forearm on the front thigh and reach your (right) arm towards the sky or along the plane of your cheek. (The first is ideal for beginners.)

 

Step 3: Keep your core engaged and feet rooting firmly into the earth. Additionally, maintain a solid foundation that originates from the pelvis through the legs.

 

Step 4: Hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths, focusing on elongating the spine and rotating your chest skyward. Keep your hips facing the long edge of the mat.

 

To exit the pose, inhale back to Warrior B with the arms outstretched in a “T” shape. Exhale and pivot your feet to face the back of the mat (in Warrior B) and repeat on the other side.

 

Beginner Tips: If you have difficulty balancing, place your hand on a block or a chair for support. Avoid collapsing onto your front thigh and instead lengthen through the spine and rotate your chest towards the sky.

 


Three ways to modify side angle yoga pose.
Three variations of Side Angle Pose.

Modifications:

 

For people with tight hips or limited mobility, modify the pose using a chair for support. If you experience discomfort in the upper arm, keep your hand on your hip instead of reaching overhead.  

 

Chakra Innervated

 

Side Angle Pose stimulates the Manipura or ‘solar plexus’ chakra. This chakra is located at the navel and is associated with confidence, willpower, and self-esteem. When this nerve centre is in balance, we experience a feeling of inner strength.

 

Benefits of the Pose

 

Let’s explore the numerous benefits Utthita Parsvakonasana has to offer. This amazing yoga pose is a fantastic way to improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and alignment. It primarily targets the legs and hips, and you just may find your heart rate increase while you're there.

 

1. Fortifies the Legs and Core

 

Side Angle Pose requires you to balance most of your weight on the front leg while gripping the mat with the opposite foot. Imagine ‘trying to pick up a marble with the baby toe’ of your back leg. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles are all strengthened in this asana. Extending the arm contracts the abdominals, leading to a stronger and more stable core.

 

2. Improves Balance and Coordination

 

Although both feet are planted in Side Angle Pose, you still need balance to prevent you from tipping over. The lateral movement asks your obliques and other side-body muscles to contract and steady the torso. Regular practice of this asana can help prevent falls and improve overall body control.

 

3. Stretches the Hips

 

Notice how small adjustments in the position of your feet allows you to access the hip musculature from varying angles, which can help relieve any discomfort or pain caused by conditions like sciatica or tension from prolonged sitting. The inner groins and outer hips in particular benefit from Side Angle Pose.

 

4. Stimulates Digestion + Boosts Metabolism

One of the most notable benefits of doing Side Angle pose is its ability to stimulate digestion. The compression created by bringing your elbow towards your knee massages the internal organs, especially the stomach and intestines, which encourages digestion and detoxification and can boost your metabolism.

 

As you can see, Utthita Parsvakonasana offers a multitude of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. From strengthening the legs and stretching your chest to improving concentration and calming the mind, it is a must-try pose for regular yogis.


How to Modify Using a Chair!




 

A chair can be excellent support for students with limited mobility or anyone in the process of building strength, balance, stamina, or stability. Using the chair as a prop lets you acclimate to the pose in your own time, enjoying all of the benefits of the classic variation. Plus, if you need a good stretch at work, the seated variation of this pose is relatively inconspicuous!

 

Choose a sturdy chair without wheels, or with wheels that have brakes, and place the chair on your yoga mat or carpeted floor for stability. Sit on the front edge of the chair with your feet hip width apart. Then, pivot to face right and extend the left leg out behind you. Lean to the right and rest your forearm on the front thigh. Reach your left arm overhead or keep the hand on your hip and hold the pose for 3 to 5 long, smooth breaths. For an added stretch in this modified version of Side Angle pose, turn your gaze upwards towards your fingertips. This will enhance the stretch in your chest and shoulders.

 

It is important to listen to your body while practicing any yoga pose, especially when first using a prop, like a chair.

 As with most yoga postures, Side Angle has been known to provide emotional support. The combination of deep breathing and stretching can help release pent-up feeling stored within the body. (For example, an unresolved disagreement with a colleague might have caused you to contract in a position of self-defence.)  By calming the mind through focused breathwork while holding this challenging pose, we can experience the peace and stillness that resides within us.


Remember: Yoga is not about achieving perfect poses but about connecting the mind, body, and spirit. Embrace where you are in each moment and enjoy the journey of self-discovery through this ancient form of movement.


 If you want to explore Side Angle Pose with me realtime, here's a link to my LIVE (online) schedule.If you enjoyed learning about this feature yoga pose, please share it with friends or people you know who might benefit!


 

 

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