The pose teaches you how to stabilize your legs while you open and expand the sides of your rib cage, training the muscles that support good breathing. It also tones the muscles that run along the sides of your body, from the outer heel to the outer hip, along the torso, and up to the outer arm. Developing this strength gives you the structural support you need to lift and lengthen your spine. For this reason, Side Angle Pose is a fundamental pose to practice regularly.
How to do Utthita Parsvakonasana:
– Start with legs about one meter apart, toes facing the side of the mat.
– Inhale and extend the arms out to the side. Turn the right toes to face the front of the mat, keeping the back foot parallel to the back of the mat.
– Bend the right leg to a 90 degree angle, being sure to press the outer edge of the left foot into the mat, keeping the back leg firm.
– Bring the right hand down to the outer edge of the right foot (to the mat or to a block, depending on flexibility) and extended the left hand toward the sky.
– Begin to stretch the left hand over the head, so bicep is close to the ear. Turn the chest upward and use the core to lift the spine.
– Stay here for up to 45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
How it helps:
Utthita Parsvakonasana strengthen and stretches the legs, knees and ankles. It stretches the groin, spine, waist, chest and lungs. Because the muscles of the legs are so large it consumes a lot of energy to strengthen them, therefore extended side angle also helps build stamina.