Uta’s Insights: Yoga Pose of the Week — 6. Side Angle Pose
Side Angle Pose — Parsvakonasana
Parsvakonasana tones and strengthens the leg muscles. It also strengthens the ankles and knee joints. It expands the chest and stretches muscles of the arms, shoulders, and back. In addition, it encourages increased blood circulation to the spinal nerves and abdominal organs.
This asana is a wonderful stretch when it is combined with Warrior Two and Triangle poses — a sequence of poses I love to practice.
How to practice the Side Angle pose:
- Start in the Mountain pose. Take a big step back with your right leg. The left foot should stay straight ahead and your right foot should turn slightly outwards about 15 degrees. The heel of the left foot should line up with the arch of the right foot.
- Inhale while raising your arms out to shoulder level — the left arm forward and the right backwards. Your ankles should line up under your wrists.
- As you extend out through the fingers, relax your shoulders so they gently slope down.
Keep your shoulders and hips square. Exhale and bend your left leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Your arms are straight and facing forward and back. Stretch to the left until your left elbow is resting on your thigh (see first photo) while your right arm comes up, pointing at the ceiling. Alternatively, for a deeper stretch, your left hand can touch the floor behind the left ankle (see second photo), while the right arm comes up.
- Keep your right arm straight and stretch it over your head until it is almost touching your ear. The palm of your hand should face down. Gently twist your navel upwards while you look up. Hold for several breaths.
- To come out of this pose, inhale as you let your left arm lift you up. Step back to the Mountain pose and switch sides, or simply switch the direction of your feet.
Next week I will share some details on one additional standing asana before moving to some of the floor poses. I wish you much joy while practicing your yoga program.