Top 5 Health Benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Yoga is a complete wellness practice of the body, mind, and soul. The ancient science comprises three energies- asana, pranayama, and dhyana, and these together support us to reach towards the aim of attaining enlightenment. Asana or yoga poses are the first steps towards starting this majestic expedition. According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Asana means to be in a firm position, but relaxed. Each yoga pose is performed to avail various health benefits and is aimed at cultivating awareness, concentration, and relaxation.
Each asana has their own significance and advantages. One-of-a-kind is the Utthita Parsvakonasana.
What is Utthita Parsvakonasana?
Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended side angle pose is designed in a way to help stretch the body parts that usually does not get extended. It is a beginner level pose and doing it in the morning on empty stomach is highly advisable. The asana is both therapeutic and challenging, a truly beautiful posture that comes with a lot of benefits.
Top five health benefits of Utthita Parsvakonasana:
Stretches the Body
As mentioned, the asana is the best yoga posture to stretch the entire body especially the chest, shoulders, waist, lungs, spine, and groin. This stretch increases the muscle flexibility, reduces the risk of injury, increases joint mobility, and prevents muscle soreness. A stretch in the spine helps to cure the back pain, minimize stress on the joint and improves blood circulation. Stretching of the shoulder improves circulation in the shoulder joint and muscles, reduces fatigue and pain. Lengthening of the waist helps you to shed extra fat from the waistline and makes it toned. A stretch to the groin alleviates groin soreness and pain.
Strengthens the Quadriceps
With a regular practice of the Utthita Parsvakonasana, it helps with the strengthening of the quadriceps. Performing the asana daily makes the front muscles of your legs strong, improves balance, and enables to manage weight easily. Strengthening of the legs, knees, and ankles benefit you a lot. It reduces pain, supports healthy joints and functioning, supports healthy cartilage, and prevent injuries from fall.
Massages Abdominal Organs
Practicing this asana stimulates the abdominal organs that help in enhancing the overall health. Our abdomen houses many vital organs like stomach, digestive system, liver, kidney, spleen, intestines, pancreas, and gallbladder, and practicing Utthita Parsvakonasana ensures the healthy function of these. It increases the blood flow, relaxes muscle tension, improves the natural detoxification process, improves digestion, releases emotion tension, reduces stress, and makes the female organs strong.
Provides Therapeutic Relief
The asana provides therapeutic relief from issues like constipation, infertility, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, low back aches, osteoporosis, and obesity. This increases the feeling of relaxation, improves confidence, balances energy, boosts the immune system, and creates a sense of body-image positivity.
As you keep practicing the asana daily, slowly you start holding the posture for a longer time. This helps in developing muscle endurance of the whole body. Your legs will work in order to support the body weight. It also activates the core to prevent tumbling down of the body, relaxes the body, and enhances a healthy overall functioning of the body.
Steps to perform Utthita Parsvakonasana
- Stand straight on the floor with the legs placed wide apart and hands kept beside the body.
- Align your heels with each other. Make sure you’re facing the wider and longer side of the mat.
- Now turn your right foot outward so that the toes can be pointed towards the short edge of the mat. Breathe out and bend the right knee making it parallel to the floor.
- This forms a 90-degree angle. Make sure that the right ankle and its knee are
- Then move your left foot inwards to form a 45-degree angle.
- Now breathe in and strengthen the lower belly and pull it upward.
- Breathe out. Slightly move the left leg backward and bend down the body towards the right and let the right hand touch the floor.
- At the same time, raise your left arm upward and then slightly stretches it towards the right.
- Make sure to align your spine and neck and your gaze should be turned towards the left arm.
- Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds. Release and repeat the same on the other side.
The asana is great for opening the stiff body muscles and is a perfect tool for treating body pain and aches. So what are you waiting for? Get ready and start practicing the asana to be strong, and healthy.
Parsvakonasana (pars-wag-cone-ASH-uh-nun) tones the ankles, knees and thighs, gives a good stretch to the back, while fully opening the chest. It also relieves stiffness in the shoulders and hip joints. Minor deformities in the legs are rectified. This pose improves digestion by increasing peristaltic activity. It also helps reduce fats around the waist and hips.
This pose is a grounding yet energizing pose. This pose has the same energetic benefits as Trikonasana. The practitioner should start developing awareness of the back leg as this will develop better balance in the pose.
Those with headaches and regular migraines should avoid this pose. Those with high blood pressure should not lift their arms up, but keep their palms on their hips. If there is any groin injury take a shorter stance. Those with any neck injuries should refrain from looking upward and should look forward.
As this pose is a combination of both Trikonasana and Virabhadrasana II, the benefits derived would be similar to those with the practice of the above mentioned poses. Given below are some of the benefits explained.
- Strengthens the legs: The main focus in this pose is the alignment of the legs, and with the position of the foot, ankles, knee and the hip, enhances the muscles gaining in the entire leg strength. The deep stretching of the leg too helps in strengthening the overall lower body.
- Flexing of joints: With a deep stretch at the knee, hip and ankle, this posture improves the flexibility at the joints and makes the leg strong for further advance poses. The strengthening and flexing of these joints also works to the advantage of all balancing poses while standing.
- Great opening of the chest and the shoulders: The position of the upper body while moving forward downwards with the torso, adds to the wide opening of the chest in a simple twist, while taking the shoulder back and out. The stretching of the arm out completely expands the muscles around the chest and the shoulders. This improves the breathing and gives a quick energy to the entire body.
- Overall body muscle strength: Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle Pose, gives an overall toning to the body with the toning of the muscles around the chest, arms, abdomen, hips and legs. It builds and develops stamina and strength.
- Reduces backache: One needs to understand the movement of the body while practicing this pose, to gain maximum benefit. The alignment of this posture adds beauty to the overall body. Backaches can be healed when practicing this pose along with other poses on a regular basis. But care should be taken to understand the movement of the hips here while the torso goes in side bend. Getting the alignment wrong may cause more harm than curing the back.
- Flexing the spine: Flexibility of the spine is essential in practicing most of the poses. And in Extended Side Angle Pose, the spine extends at both extremes, right from the lower back to the neck. This encourages the flexing of the spine and prepares the body for greater challenging poses.
- Abdominal muscles soothes improving digestion: Here in this pose, the abdominal organs are stimulated, aiding in digestion. To get maximum benefit from this , make sure the practice of yogasana are done mainly empty stomach or there should be at least 4 hours gap between the meals and the practice time.
- Therapeutic for Sciatica: Various movements done through stretching and bending help dealing with the problems of sciatica as hips and back are also involved in those movements.
- Reduces Menstrual discomfort: Practicing this posture regularly can help in reducing the challenges with PMS for women of all ages. The massage at the lower abdomen, the lower back and the hips, along with proper breathing provides relief from PMS or dealing with symptoms related to menopause.
- Helps Athletes tone their calves and hamstrings: The stretch at the calves and the hamstrings in this pose also improves the blood circulation around these muscles and works well if practiced by athletes as part of their warming up sessions. Can be considered as a relaxing pose after running or after practicing their sport. Care should be take not to put pressure at the knees and the ankles.
Benefits of Extended Side Angle Pose
Parsvakonasana relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back. It provides a deep stretch to the groins and hamstrings, and it also improves stamina. This pose strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles, while also stretching and toning the abdominal muscles. It is known to be therapeutic for constipation, infertility, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, and low backache.
This pose requires and builds strength throughout the entire body, and is therefore best practiced closer to the beginning or the middle of a standing pose sequence. It helps to prepare the body for deeper leg and groin stretches, such as Bound Angle Pose (Buddha Konasana) and Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold (Upanishads Konasana).