Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pose of the Week: Side Angle Pose

This week I would like to share a Yoga pose with you called Side Angle Pose, or Parsvac Onasana.  Sometimes you will also hear this pose referred to as Extended Angle Pose.

*As always... Please remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.I am not a doctor or a personal trainer, so I may not be able to address your specific contraindications.  I can only teach you what I know and what I have been taught.

Side Angle Pose will stimulate the nervous system and internal organs.  It will help to tone and cleanse the spinal muscles, as well as strengthen the quadriceps and the muscles surrounding the knee joint.  It will also stretch the groin and waist.

To begin, place your feet warrior position, by placing your feet about 4 feet apart. The toes on your front foot should be pointing straight ahead, while your back food should be pointing to the side; creating a long "L" shape. Your heels should be in alignment as if you were standing on a balance beam.

Feet Positioning: Side Angle Pose
With your chest facing the same direction as your hips, create a bend in your front knee without allowing your knee to protrude past your toes.  Reach down with your front arm, and up to the sky with your back arm, keeping both heels planted into the mat.  Your top arm should be strong and stable, and your gaze should be focused beyond your top fingertips.
Side Angle Pose
Keep your back glute tight and your core muscles strong.  Your chest should stay open (you can even focus on rotating your chest to the sky with each exhale).  If you feel your top shoulder start to collapse forward, transition into Modified Side Angle Pose (pictured below).

If you would like to take this pose a bit further, you can come into Bound Side Angle Pose by placing your top arm behind your body, your lower arm in front of, then underneath, your front leg and reaching up and behind.  The goal is to be able to clasp your hands behind your body.

Bound Side Angle Pose

Bound Side Angle Pose

Modifications: If flexibility is an issue, you can utilize a Yoga block, place your hand at the ankle or calf, or you can rest your elbow or forearm on your quadricep.  Be mindful of this pose if you have weakened knee joints.  Remember that it is okay to modify.  Strength and flexibility come with practice.  Know where you are at today and listen to your body.  If you feel pain or discomfort, back off of your level of intensity.

Modified Side Angle Pose

Thank you for practicing with me today.  Namaste.

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