Encyclopedia of Yoga: Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

This standing pose builds a sense of gravity, a sense of foundation through the center line. It tones up the legs, and energizes the whole spine. This is wonderfully therapeutic for when you feel low energy and you’re looking to stimulate the body. Sometimes can be treatment for headaches. If you notice yourself feeling a little bit dizzy, or woozy, this powerful standing pose can really help you bring yourself back into your center line.

Your own leg length.

Move the legs apart about the distance of your own leg’s length. If you were blessed with long, beautiful legs go ahead and use that full length of one of your legs. Start off with the feet parallel.

Feel that solid foundation.

Rotate the right hip externally, aligning the right heel with the left arch. Then dropping the right femur into the socket, bend your knee over the ankle. Keep the belly in. Feel that solid foundation through the legs. Drop the right forearm on the right, inner thigh. Press into your left heel.  Find that connection through the left side body. Make sure the knees aren’t past the toes.  If your knees are past the toes, you need a wider stance. Belly in. Sitting bones, heavy.

Roll through the rotation.

Probably the most important thing to think about is how you raise your arm. If you don’t roll the shoulder around, then when you raise the arms, you can hike the shoulder up. You always want to roll through the rotation. Practice that a couple times. Let your arms swing down. Root into the legs, and then roll through. Let that shoulder blade drop down and around.  That’s the rotation that you want. Belly in, maintaining the rotation, then you can open the side body.

Root the heel.

Even though we’re leaning to the right, the work happens on the left side.  You’re working by grounding into the left heel.  You can choose to stay right here and go no further.  If you feel it, you’re going to glide your torso down on the outside. Fingertips press into the ground. Root the heel of the left foot down. And then, if you feel it, flattening that right hand, rotating the right shoulder forward.  And gripping deeply into the inner body.

Calm the mind.

Feel a sense of pressure, and push, using the strength to ground the outer edge of your left heel. This foundational standing pose helps calm the mind, and keep you real grounded. Put in the work with five deep breaths, in all the standing poses, and you’ll be able to keep your center in every breath. I hope you keep the seed of faith and inspiration to do your practice, every day. Namaste.

By Kino MacGregor

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International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!