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My Love-Hate Relationship with Extended Side Angle Pose

 

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I haven’t always liked Extended Side Angle Pose, also referred to by the Sanskrit shortened version Parsvakonasana. It use to seem incredibly difficult to hold, and the teacher always seemed to forget that we were holding the pose, she would keep us here for what felt like eternity.

However, when I started my Yoga studies I learned the purpose and beauty of this pose. This pose combines a lunge and a twist, which both strengthens and stretches your body. Have you ever wondered the secret to becoming super flexible and able to do pretzel like poses like lotus pose? Well, it starts with poses like Parsvakonasana. The idea is to warm up your hips in poses that build heat while slowly stretching this area, so when you get to the deep flexibility based poses you are ready!

Extended Sides Angle Pose is the perfect standing pose to add into the beginning of your practice with other standing poses like extended triangle pose and the warrior poses. You can follow this pose up with deeper hip opening poses like Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) and Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana).

To begin, bring your hands to your hips. Step your feet wide apart and rotate the right legs to the front of the room. Align your heels.

Bend your knee so it is directly over your front shin. Bend your right elbow and place it on top of your bent legs, thigh. Keep your palm up.

Extend your let arm overhead. Feel the line of energy from the left leg up your torso side and out of the extended arm overhead.

Look forward or up at your hands, breathing slowly and deeply though your nose. Allow your emotions to surface briefly as a tool of self-reflection. This pose relates especially to our sense of strength, groundedness, and unlimited capabilities.

Concentrate and feel your solar plexus chakra beaming radiantly and giving you endless strength. This is your third chakra, called the Manipura chakra in Sanskrit. Positive affirmations to say with this Chakra include:

  • I am powerful.
  • I can accomplish anything.
  • I am confident.

You can modify the pose by either resting your arm on the top of your knee, or balance on a block instead of the floor.

Only go as deep as you can balance effort with ease. Engage your legs and continue pressing them into and away from the floor.

Hold for: 30 seconds to a minute.

Benefits:

  • It opens the inner thighs
  • Stretches the entire side body, spine and hips
  • Relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back
  • Deepens stretch to the groins and hamstrings
  • Strengthens the legs, knee and ankle
  • Stretches and tones your abs
  • Improves your stamina
  • Opens chest, shoulders and lungs
  • Deepens your breath

Alleviates:

  • Constipation. Stimulates abdominal organs and relieves
  • Infertility
  • Backache
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sciatica
  • Menstrual issues

Now, I always make sure to include Parsvakonasana in my yoga routine, to soak up its innumerable mind, body and spirit benefits!