How to Do Extended Side Angle Pose in Yoga (Guide to Utthita Parsvakonasana)

The extended side angle pose is a blend of triangle pose and warrior II pose.

This pose demands a lot of strength in the legs and requires us to adjust the pose however necessary to keep the chest open.

Though it can be tempting to go “all in” for this pose, if you feel that your shoulders are rounding and your chest isn’t open, add as many blocks or props as you need below your hand.

“Extended side angle pose eases the body into a beautiful place of alignment,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “It’s all about taking the time to feel how your body moves into this pose as well as recognizing any adjustments that you need to make to reap the same benefits.”

Extended Side Angle Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Utthita Parsvakonasana
Pose Type: Standing Yoga Poses, Strengthening Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Arms, shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, chest, hips, knees, psoas, quads
Benefits: This pose engages and stretches the legs while opening up the chest, building flexibility in the hips and improving balance.
Preparatory Poses: Reverse warrior pose, warrior II pose, triangle pose, low lunge pose

How to Do Extended Side Angle Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start by standing at the front of your mat.
  2. Take a big step back with the right leg.
  3. Turn your right toes to 90 degrees as you bend deeply into your left knee.
  4. Ensure that your left knee is stacked over or behind your ankle and that it’s in line with your left hip.
  5. Turn your torso to the right and stretch your arms out on either side of your body.
  6. Root through the back heel to keep your right leg strong.
  7. From here, slowly hinge at the hope to bring your left fingertips to the ground on the outside edge of your left foot.
  8. Reach your right arm up to the sky.
  9. Gaze up to the right fingertips.

Beginner’s Tip

Place a block on the outside edge of your front foot to make this pose more accessible.

Envision keeping the chest open and shoulders down to really open the upper body. If this feels difficult, adding a block underneath the hand will help.

In time, you may be able to bring your feet further apart and sink deeper into the pose – for now, move with your body and don’t force the position.

Once you’re ready to practice extended side angle pose, imagine that your body is trying to fit into a toaster or between two panes of glass. This will improve your alignment and help you to keep your chest open.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if your muscles or joints are particularly weak as you’ll experience lots of pressure on the knees and in the hips.
  • Avoid this pose if you have a hip or knee injury.

Variation

Instead of bringing your hand to the ground, try bringing your elbow to your knee. Another variation that may be more accessible is to come to a low lunge with the right leg and bring your right knee to the ground. From here, place your left hand on your mat on the outside or inside of your left foot and reach the right fingers to the sky.

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