Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
This asana is also known as the Extended Side angle and can be performed as follows;
- Stand in Tadasana or the Mountain Pose.
- On an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly towards the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees.
- Align the right heel with the left heel. Place your thighs firmly and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the kneecap is in line with the center of the right ankle. Roll the left hip slightly forward, towards the right, but rotate your upper torso back to the left.
- Now anchor the left (back) heel to the floor by lifting the inner left groin deep into the pelvis. Then exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. As you bend the knee aim the inner knee toward the little-toe side of the foot. Try keeping the right thigh parallel to the floor.
- Now firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs. Extend your left arm straight up towards the ceiling, and then turn the left palm to face toward your head and with an inhalation reach the arm over the back of your left ear, palm facing the floor.
- Stretch from your left heel through your left fingertips, lengthening the entire left side of your body. Turn your head to look at the left arm. Release your right shoulder away from the ear. Try to create as much length along the right side of your torso as you do along the left.
- As you do so continue keeping your left heel to the floor, exhale and lay the right side of your torso down onto (or bring it as close as possible to) the top of the right thigh. Press your right fingertips (or palm) on the floor just outside of your right foot. Actively push the right knee back against the inner arm; counter this by burrowing your tail bone into the back of your pelvis, toward the pubis.
- The inside of your right thigh should be parallel with the long edge of the floor or to the mat you are performing this asana on.
- Retain this posture for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Inhale to come up. Push both heels strongly into the floor and reach the left arm forcefully toward the ceiling to lighten the upward movement. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left. Then come up and return to Tadasana or the mountain pose.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Has great therapeutic value in constipation, infertility, lower backache, osteoporosis, sciatica and various menstrual disorders.
- Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees and ankles.
- Stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Increases the stamina.
- Stretches the groin, spine, waist, chest, lungs and shoulders.
- This pose works on the para spinal muscles and ligaments.
- Provides relief in gastritis, flatulence and acidity.
- Brings about the toning of the hamstring group of muscles.
Precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Should not be practiced if suffering from high or low blood pressure.
- Should also not be practiced in knee injuries, headaches, and insomnia.
- In case you are having neck problems look forwards and not up during this pose.