What is Utthita Parsvakonasana?
Before we talk about the technique and benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana, it is essential to know Utthita Parsvakonasana meaning.
Utthita Parsvakonasana, also known as the Extended Side Angle Pose is a standing side stretching asana in modern yoga. This is an invigorating asana that stretches and extends your body from the heels to the head.
Utthita Parsvakonasana meaning comes from the Sanskrit terms ‘utthita’ meaning extended, ‘parsva’ meaning side, ‘kona’ meaning angle’ and ‘asana’ meaning posture.
Who can do Utthita Parsvakonasana?
The extended side angle pose can be done by a variety of people including:
- Pregnant women
- People who want to cure lower body pains and stiffness.
- Those who want to improve their balance and coordination.
- People who want to cure their respiratory problems.
- Women who want to get rid of menstrual problems.
- Those who want to lose weight.
- People who want to regulate their emotions and reduce stress.
Who should avoid Utthita Parsvakonasana?
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, you must never practice the extended side angle pose without talking to your doctor:
- Injury in the arms, neck, shoulders, hips, or legs.
- Chronic headache or migraine.
- Cervical spondylosis.
- High or low blood pressure.
How is Utthita Parsvakonasana done?
To gain the benefits of Parsvakonasana and to avoid injuries, it is essential to master the form of this asana.
Here is a step-by-step explanation of Parsvakonasana:
- To begin, stand tall in Mountain Pose.
- Take a long step with your right foot in its direction.
- Slowly turn your right foot out at an angle of 90-degrees. Turn your left foot out in the same direction at an angle of 45-degrees.
- Exhale and bend your right knee at an angle of 90-degrees so that it is parallel to the ground. Bend your trunk downwards.
- Hold the pose for a couple of seconds and breathe deeply here.
- Exhale deeply and bend your body over your right leg as you stretch sideways.
- Lower your right hand and place it on the inside or outside of the right foot.
- Raise your left hand over the head and parallel to the ear.
- You should feel an intense stretch right from the hand to the heel.
- Tilt your neck slowly upwards towards the ceiling.
- Hold this final pose for 20-30 seconds.
- To release the pose, press down your feet, lower your left arm, bring back your thigh, and straighten your torso.
- Repeat the extended side angle pose on the other side.
What are some Utthita Parsvakonasana variations?
Depending on your conditioning and fitness objectives, there are several Parsvakonasana variations you can try. Some of the most effective extended side angle pose variations include:
- Instead of taking your hand upwards, you can bind it behind your back. This helps stretch your ribs upwards and opens your heart in a deep extended stretch.
- There is another effective extended side angle pose variation where you can place your elbow on the thigh while keeping your palm facing upwards.
- Do the side angle pose against a wall. This helps in supporting your back.
- People who have back problems, can practice the right angle yoga pose using a chair.
What are the Benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana?
Parsvakonasana has excellent benefits for your physical and mental health. Here are some good reasons why you should include this asana in your workout regime:
- Mostly, the muscles in our sides, known as obliques, remain inactive due to their low engagement in our day-to-day activities. Utthita Parsvakonasana is one of the few yoga poses that give your obliques a deep stretch. This helps in toning and strengthening these muscles.
- One of the most important Parsvakonasana benefits is that it strengthens your lower body. It stimulates the muscles around your knees, calves, ankles, and thighs and makes them stronger. This also helps in reducing pain or stiffness in these areas.
- By activating your lower body muscles, Utthita Parsvakonasana improves your balance, coordination, and stability.
- Utthita Parsvakonasana benefits people with respiratory problems. By giving your lungs a good stretch, it enhances their capacity. This helps prevent and manage lung-related disorders such as asthma and COPD.
- By giving your abdomen a good stretch, the side angle pose stimulates your digestive organs. This prevents problems such as indigestion, constipation, and bloat.
- Utthita Parsvakonasana helps you lose weight. This gives you a toned appearance and prevents obesity-related diseases.
- One of the most important benefits of Parsvakonasana is that stimulates your chest muscles. This helps in improving your cardiac health and preventing diseases such as hypertension and heart attack.
- One of the best Parsvakonasana benefits is that it improves your circulation. This improves your immunity and keeps you disease-free.
- Another Utthita Parsvakonasana benefit is that by enhancing your circulation it improves your cognitive functioning. This calms your mind, reduces stress, and prevents age-related disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer.
- Since Utthita Parsvakonasana can be done with a minimal set-up, it is a great addition to your home workouts.
How to do Utthita Parsvakonasana safely?
There are certain things that you need to keep in mind to prevent injuries and perform Utthita Parsvakonasana safely:
- Ensure that your knee doesn’t travel beyond your ankle. Instead, it should be aligned with your heel.
- Since this is a deep stretching asana, condition your body by doing Utthita Parsvakonasana preparatory poses. Some of the most effective Utthita Parsvakonasana preparatory asanas are Utthita Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana 2, and Vrkshasana.
- Your weight must be balanced on your legs.
- Never start doing this asana without learning its technique from an experienced yoga practitioner or by joining online yoga classes. This is especially while doing yoga for beginners.
Regularly practising the right angle yoga pose is a great way to enjoy lifelong health. However, the key to attaining the benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana is that you should keep yourself challenged and be consistent with your workouts.
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