The extended side angle pose, also known as Utthita Parsvakonasana, is a great asana for strengthening the hips and core of a yogi. When reaching up, one can really feel the stretch deepen, and with some variations, the core can really be challenged and strengthened.
To begin, start in tadasana and on your exhale, step to one side so your feet are a good stretch apart. On inhale, turn your back foot to a 90 degree angle, and let your front foot turn slightly to find balance. At this point, you want the center of your forward kneecap to be aligned with it’s ankle, perpendicular to the floor. On exhale, bring your back arm in a big circle to the sky, and rest your forward arm on the knee right there.
Once here, your head can look forward or to the side where it feels natural, or it can follow your upper hand to the sky, but this will test the strength of your neck.
Breathing here, bring your forward thigh to a bend that’s parallel to the floor, strengthening through the pelvis and bum.
If you feel so inclined, bring your lower hand to the floor, on the inside of your knee.
Another variation is to, on an exhale, shift your entire body to the front foot, lifting and extending your back leg straight out, parallel to the floor.
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