How to practice: Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

by Delight Yoga

Six simple Fundamental Asanas (postures) build the foundation of an Astanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. They are often called “standing positions” because they are composed of six relatively easy standing asanas. Parśvakoṇāsana is the fourth of these fundamental postures. 

The six fundamental postures are right at the beginning of every Astanga Yoga practice. No matter how advanced you are, after five rounds of Surya Namaskara A and B, you start with these postures. Here, you carry the rhythm you have set up in Surya Namaskara A & B in a flow from asana to asana. With this solid basis, you are perfectly prepared to enter whichever series you are practising. 

Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana, or 'Extended Side Angle Pose', creates a stretch along the top side of the body, from the back heel through the raised arm. What’s often neglected is the need to match the stretch along the underside of the torso. It might be better, then, to think of Utthita Parsvakonasana as the “Extended Sides Angle Pose.”

Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana Instructions

1. ekam
Inhale, stepping back with the right foot.
Dhristi: to the tip of the hand (hastāgre)

2. dve
Exhale, bending into the right knee, place right hand on the outer edge of the right foot
Dhristi: to the tip of the foot​ (pādayoragre)

- 5 breaths, Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana (right side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the hand (hastāgre)

3. trīṇi
Inhale, square up, turn.
Dhristi: to the tip of the hand (hastāgre)

4. catvāri
Exhale, bending into left knee, place left hand on outer edge of left foot
Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

- 5 breaths, Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana (left side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the hand (hastāgre)

5. pañca
Inhale, square off to side (turn)
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Exhale, stepping to the front of the mat, Samasthitiḥ
  Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

Utthita Parśvakoṇāsana Benefits

- Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles.

- Strengthens the groin, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders.

- Stimulates abdominal organs.

- Increases stamina.