How To Do The Utthita Parsvakonasana And What Are Its Benefits November 1, 2016

Utthita – Extended, Parsva – Side, Kona – Angle, Asana – Posture; Pronounced As – oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna

This asana helps to stretch those parts of the body that do not usually get extended. It is a beginner’s pose that helps you get accustomed to the stretching and contouring of the body that yoga entails.

Everything You Need To Know About The Utthita Parsvakonasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
  2. How To Do The Utthita Parsvakonasana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tip
  5. Advanced Pose Variation
  6. The Benefits Of The Extended Side Angle Pose
  7. The Science Behind The Utthita Parsvakonasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana

It is essential to make sure that your bowels and stomach are empty before you perform this asana. It might be a good idea to give a gap of a few hours between your last meal and the exercise. This will allow enough time for your food to digest well. This asana works best when practiced in the morning. But you could practice it in the evening too.

Level: Basic
Style: Hatha Yoga
Duration: 15 to 30 seconds
Repetition: Once on each side
Stretches: Knees, Shoulders, Legs, Vertebral column, Thorax, Abdomen, Ankles, Lungs, Groin
Strengthens: Knees, Legs, Ankles

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How To Do The Utthita Parsvakonasana

  1. Stand on your mat such that you are facing the long side of the mat, and your feet are your legs’ distance apart. Make sure that your heels are in line with each other.
  1. Your right foot needs to turn out such that your toes point towards the short edge of the mat, and your left toes are at a 45-degree angle.
  1. Exhale and bend your right knee, making sure your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  1. Your knee must be above the ankle and in line with the first two toes. The base of the big toe must be grounded onto the floor, but the thigh must be rolled out towards the little toes.
  1. Inhale and firm up your lower belly, such that it is sucked in and pulled up.
  1. Exhale and stretch your body over the right leg. Then, bring the right arm down. You could either place your elbow on your right thigh or place the hand on the floor, outside the right foot.
  1. Extend your left arm to the ceiling, such that the palm is facing the front. Roll the outer upper left arm towards your face, and then reach over the head, ensuring your arm is next to the left ear.
  1. Press the outside of the left foot on the floor, and then roll the right side of your buttock slightly under.
  1. You must ensure that your spine and neck are long, and your neck is in line with your spine. Turn your gaze towards the left arm.
  1. Revolve the ribcage up such that it faces the ceiling. Keeping the foundation stable, press your feet firmly. Keep your face soft and your spine light.
  1. Hold the pose. To release, inhale, and come out of the pose assuming the Tadasana. Relax for a few seconds and repeat the pose on the other side.

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Precautions And Contraindications

These are a few points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.

  1. Avoid this asana if you have the following conditions.

a. Headache
b. High or low blood pressure
c. Insomnia

  1. In case you have a neck problem, do not look at the extended arm; look straight or down instead.

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Beginner’s Tips

As beginners, you might find it hard to

a. Keep your heels anchored to the floor as you bend the front knee in the pose, and
b. Touch the fingertips of the lowered hand on the floor.

To tackle the first problem, you must brace your back heel against a wall. Then, as you bend the front knee and lower the torso to the side, you must imagine that you are pushing the wall away from you with your heel.

For the second problem, rest your forearm over the thigh of the bent knee, or use a block to support your hand.

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Advanced Pose Variations

To intensify the pose, once you are in it, lift the ball of the front foot off the floor. Then, to reaffirm the anchor of the back heel, press the head of the back femur deep into the socket, and lift the back of the inner groin deep into the leg. After this, soften the ball of the front foot on the floor again.

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The Benefits Of The Extended Side Angle Pose

These are some amazing benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana.

  1. It not only stretches but also strengthens the knees, ankles, and the legs.
  1. The groins, chest, spine, waist, lungs, and shoulders get a good stretch.
  1. The abdominal organs are stimulated.
  1. Stamina is increased.
  1. This asana also gives therapeutic relief from constipation, infertility, lower backaches, osteoporosis, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort.

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The Science Behind The Utthita Parsvakonasana

This asana reiterates the fact that there is a continuity between poses. It is a natural progression from the Warrior Pose II. The Warrior II is preparation to throw the spear, and in this asana, the action of throwing the spear takes place. From an erect trunk in the Virabhadrasana II, there is a progression to lateral flexing in Utthita Parsvakonasana. The back arm in the Warrior Pose extends away from the body, and in this pose, it stretches over the head.

In this asana, when you combine the arm and shoulder action, along with the anchoring of the back foot into the ground, it creates a stretch for the upper side of the body. But the real story of this asana is in the breathing. You must use the accessory muscles of breathing to open up your chest and deepen your inhalations as you relax while exhaling.

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Preparatory Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
Siddhasana
Supta Virasana
Supta Padangusthasana
Upavistha Konasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Virabhadrasana II
Virasana

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Follow-Up Poses

Baddha Koṇāsana
Bakasana
Mālāsana

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Now that you know how to do Utthita Parsvakonasana, what are you waiting for? This asana is one of those weapons in the yoga arsenal that help you fight almost any battle of pain and disease, while preparing your body and making it strong. Use this blessing wisely.

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