Extended Side Angle Pose: Utthita Parsvakonasana
Utthita parsvakonasana (oo-TEE-tah PARZ-vuh-ko-NAHS-uh-nuh) is a standing pose that stretches the legs, knees, hips, and ankles while increasing endurance and stamina.
- Utthita: extended
- Parsva: side
- Kona: angle
- Asana: pose
- Strengthens your thighs, hips, knees, and ankles.
- Stretches your groin, back, spine, waist, ankles, and shoulders.
- Increases endurance and stamina.
- Triangle pose | Trikonasana
- Half moon pose | Ardha chandrasana
- Bound extended side angle | Baddha parsvakonasana
- Pyramid pose | Parsvottanasana
- Standing forward fold | Uttanasana
- Reverse warrior | Viparita virabhadrasana
- Rest your forearm on the top of your front thigh. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and stay engaged in the sides of the torso to prevent collapsing toward the ground.
- Place a block under your bottom hand to bring the ground closer to you.
- Keep your gaze forward or down to the floor to invite more space in the neck.
- Begin in warrior II pose with your right foot forward.
- Reach your right arm toward the top of your mat, extending through the sides of your torso. When you reach as far as you can, lower your right hand down and left hand toward the ceiling, both palms facing the left side of your mat.
- Draw both shoulders away from your ears. Square your shoulders to the left side of your mat.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths, then return to warrior II and release. Repeat on the other side.
Ardha Hanumanasana: Half Front Splits Pose
Ardha hanumanasana (are-dah hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) is a big stretch for hamstrings. This pose is more approachable than full hanumanasana and strengthens the muscles needed to practice front splits safely with the correct muscles properly engaged.
Philosophy + Origin
One of the main characters of the Ramayana is Hanuman, the famous monkey god, devotee of Lord Rama, and son of Vayu (the god of wind). He is celebrated in the pose hanumanasana, which physically represents his famous “leap of faith,” taking him across the ocean from India to Sri Lanka. Ardha hanumanasana, the preparatory pose for hanumanasana, can represent the stability and strength needed to make grand, world-changing (or life-changing) gestures. Rather than only focusing on gaining flexibility, practice ardha hanumanasana to create a healthy balance of flexibility and strength. When practicing ardha hanumanasana, remind yourself of the dangers of only being flexible in life; in order to really get where you want to go, you must also be strong and stable.