Pose of the week: Utthita Parsvakonasana

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Utthita Parsvakonasana (try saying that in yoga class!) also known as extended side angle. This is another one of my favorite poses for the glorious stretch you get from the heel of your back leg to your front fingertips. As the entire side body lengthens, I like to think I’m adding at least an inch of height to my frame. It’s good to dream!

Getting into the pose: Feet are positioned 4 feet apart. Back toes are pointed in at a 45 degree angle while front foot is facing forward. Extend arms out to the side parallel with the mat, bend right knee at a 90 degree angle (knee cap aligned over heel) and place right hand on the inside of your right foot as you extend your left arm over your head with fingertips reaching towards the front of the room.

Alignment cues with right leg bent: Back leg is strong, press back heel down as you reach through the front fingertips. Left hip is slightly forward and upper torso rotates back to the left to open up the chest. Left arm reaches back over left ear with palm facing down. Gaze at left fingertips and avoid sinking weight into the right hand. Use the right arm as leverage to align the right knee with ankle. BREATHE.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles

  • Stretches the groin, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders

  • Stimulates abdominal organs

  • Increases stamina

There you have it!