Side Angle, Extended
UTTHITA PĀRŚVAKONĀSANA (उत्थित पार्श्वकोणासन)
(oot-HEE-tah parsh-vah-coh-NAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Utthita’= extended, stretched, or raised, ‘Pārśva’= side or flank, ‘kona’= angle,
‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Extended Angle
Utthita Parshvakonasana

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing / Side-Bend / Stretch / Hip Opener / Balance

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), facing the front of your mat, with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward.
2. Step your left foot forward into a wide stance. Turn your right foot out, between a 45 to 90-degree angle (depending on flexibility). Make sure your heels are lined up. Root down through your feet to ground yourself and then push through your left knee to bend the left knee at a 90-degree angle, putting your legs into a lunge. Make sure that your left knee is stacked over your left ankle.
3. Square your hips forward, tightening your glutes, and tucking in your tailbone. Engage your core, lift your torso, and bring your arms out to the side like a ‘T’. Start to bend to the side and rotate your chest forward, over the left leg. Bring the palm of your left hand down to the mat. Place it near the left ankle, on the inside of your left front foot.
4. Keep your shoulder blades flat across your back, and your spine straight. Engage your abdomen and quadriceps while stretching through your right side. Raise your right hand up and over your head so that it is in line with your torso. Point your fingers with your palm either facing forward or down. You should have a straight line from the fingertips of your right hand down to your right heel. Alternatively, you can raise your arm straight up to the sky, pointing your fingers, with your palm facing forward. Your shoulders should be stacked so that you have a straight line from your fingertips down through your wrist.
5. Draw your abdomen to your spine and lengthen through your back, stretching the right side from heel to shoulder. Gaze up toward the sky, relax your neck and shoulders, and aligning them with your spine.
6. Hold for several breaths, breathing smoothly. Feel the stretch in the inner thighs, hamstrings, and the right side of your body. When ready, release and come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana). (Hold for 20 seconds to increase strength and flexibility.) Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Feet too far apart
• Floor hand not in line with front foot
• Lower back arched
• Hips not squared
• Neck strained
• Shoulders strained
• Chest not open and lifted up
• Shoulders not stacked over each other in a line
• Back knee locked, hyperextended, or bent
• Front knee too far past toes
• Front knee collapsing inward
• Toes not facing forward
• Back foot lifted off floor

Modifications
• For students who have tight hamstrings, calf muscles, or hips, their back heel comes off the mat, or they need assistance balancing, they can either: a) place a block by their foot to rest their hand on, b) practice next to a chair or wall so that they can place their hands on it, rest their heel next to it, or practice with their back aligned against a wall, c) shorten their stance, or d) place a chair or stool under the front thigh.
• Students with vertigo, high blood pressure, shoulder injuries, neck stiffness/discomfort, stiff hips, or students who lose balance when looking up, can practice without raising their arm overhead or looking up. Instead, they can bend the elbow of the floor hand and rest it on the knee (so that the arm is in a 90-degree angle) and the hand that would normally go overhead can rest alongside the body (do not rest on the knee joint) or rest the hand on the hip. This can also be used by beginners to gain confidence.
• Students with tight knees can practice with a chair in front (against the wall) for extra support.
• For students who would like a challenge, they can place their hands behind their backs in either Prayer Mudra or Venus Lock, grab their elbows behind their back, or practice Cow Face Pose Arms. Alternatively, they can place their hand on the outside of the foot instead of the inside to open the hips more.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana)
• Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
• Camel (Ustrasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana) or Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
• Wide Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana)
• Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
• Corpse (Savasana) or Reverse Corpse (Advasana)

Anatomy
• Chest (Pectoralis Minor)• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Biceps and Triceps• Upper (Cervical) and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine
• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques• Hips (Iliopsoas and Psoas)
• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles and Knees• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the shoulders, chest, abdomen, obliques, spine, biceps, triceps, hips, groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, calf muscles, and ankles. Relieves symptoms of arthritis.
• Opens the chest, shoulders, hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, hip joints and groin and reduces tension around the neck and shoulders while lengthening the spine. This also energizes the body.
• Massages digestive and pelvic organs, which improves colon function and digestion, as well as soothes constipation, stomach pains, or abdominal ailments like gastritis, acidity and flatulence.
• Improves posture as well as spinal and leg alignment, as well as soothes back ache and stiffness. Therapeutic for students with osteoporosis and sciatica.
• Stimulates the nervous system which calms the brain, reduces stress and anxiety, and relieves mild depression, insomnia, and fatigue. This helps to boost energy, as well as encourages confidence, self-control, and acceptance. Also builds focus and develops willpower by stimulating the mind.
• Improves blood circulation and soothes headaches and/or migraines along with menstrual and menopausal discomfort. This pose also stimulates the kidneys, liver, spleen, and the thyroid and parathyroid glands as well as is therapeutic for students with the liver, kidneys, or sinusitis.
• Improves the respiratory system by opening the chest and increasing lung capacity, which is therapeutic for students with asthma. Also helps with breath awareness and relaxation.
• Good for athletes and increases endurance and stamina.

Contraindications
1. Students with severe hip or hamstring injuries or pain, discomfort in the neck, migraines, diarrhea, psoriasis, insomnia, osteoporosis of the knees, or cervical spondylosis should avoid this pose. If practiced, do with caution, props, modifications, and guidance.
2. Students with pain and discomfort in the neck, knees, shoulders, or hips, have a weak lower back, are in the later stages of pregnancy, have insomnia, a cardiac condition, or have high/low blood pressure should be cautious in this pose.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Utthita Parshvakonasana – Extended Side-Angle Stretch”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the tips of the fingers touch the ground (instead of the hand being placed on the floor).
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Utthita Parshvakonasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini textbook. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana. **This video demonstrates the variation with the arm resting on the front knee.
  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Parivrtta Parshvakonasana – Revolving Extended Side-Angle Stretch”.
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Parivrtta Parshvakonasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA – Extended Side Angle Pose”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the hand is placed on a block behind the front leg (instead of the hand being placed on the floor in front of the front leg).
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “PARIVRTTA BADDHA PARSVAKONASANA – Revolved Side Angle Pose”. This variation is typically more ideal for intermediate to advanced practitioners.

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