Utthita Parsvakonasana is one of those poses that its easy to have a love-hate relationship with especially if you have tight thighs, groin, side body, hips, back or shoulder. In other words, if youre experiencing any tightness just about anywhere in your body, you will feel a stretch in this posture.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (oo-TEE_tah PARSH-voh-CONE-asana) translates to Extended Side Angle Pose,
It does wonders to strengthen and open your body. As you do Utthita Parsvakonasana, its important to listen to your body and make modifications as needed.

How to do Extended Side Angle
There are numerous postures that lead into Extended Side Angle Pose Triangle Pose, Paddotanasna (Wide-legged Forward Bend), Tadasana, Warrior II, etc. all of which make it a pose thats relatively easy to incorporate into a flow practice.

If youre starting at the top of your mat in Tadasana, standing with your feet together, on the inhale take a wide step with your right foot about 3 or 4 feet to the back of your mat with your toes facing the back wall. Pivot your left foot so its parallel to the short side of your mat and the heel of your right foot is in line with the arch of your left foot.

Exhale and bend your right knee to bring your thigh parallel to the floor. At the same time, reach your right hand for the floor on the outside of your leg and your left hand straight up to the sky or over your ear reaching for the wall. Gaze up to the sky.

Thats the gist of the pose, but slight adjustments will allow you to feel it even more.
Think of your straight leg as the support. Ground the outside of your foot and keep the leg engaged.
Keep your hips lifted and open to face the side wall with your tailbone tucked under.
Rotate and open your torso to the sky while expanding your sides.
Press the earth away with the palm thats planted as you lengthen through the fingertips of the raised arm.
Make sure the bent leg is not collapsing in. Energetically drawing your thigh into your hip joint will help.
Lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the top of your head.

Tip for Beginners
If this full posture is too much, place your hand on a block or bend your arm and place your forearm on your thigh.
As noted above, its easy to let your hips sag and your bent knee to fall in. Make sure your hips are raised and your thigh is pressing out. If youre struggling with your back foot, use a wall for support.

Precautions in Extended Side Angle
If you feel any pain in your neck or suffer from a headache, modify your gaze. Youll get the same benefits by looking straight ahead or down.

Benefits of Extended Side Angle
When you feel a posture as much as you feel this one, you know its doing something. The benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana include:

Strengthens the legs, knees and ankles
Stretches groin, thigh, outer leg, side body, shoulders, chest
Lengthens the spine
Massages the abdominal organs

Extended Side Angle requires strength, patience and acceptance. As you move through this posture, listen to your body and adjust as needed.