Extended Side Angle Pose: Utthita Parsvakonasana

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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.

SANSKRIT

  • Utthita: extended
  • Parsva: side
  • Kona: angle
  • Asana: pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

  • Strengthens your thighs, hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Stretches your groin, back, spine, waist, ankles, and shoulders.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS

  • Increases endurance and stamina.

PREP POSES

SEQUENTIAL POSES

COUNTER POSES

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS

  • 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.

STEP-BY-STEP

  1. Begin in warrior II pose with your right foot forward.
  2. 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.
  3. Draw both shoulders away from your ears. Square your shoulders to the left side of your mat.
  4. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then return to warrior II and release. Repeat on the other side.

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Natarajasana: Lord of the Dance Pose

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ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Natarajasana (not-ah-raj-AHS-anna) is a physically challenging, beautiful pose that requires flexibility in the spine, legs, and hips. To practice the pose,  use a thoughtful sequence filled with plenty of preparatory poses in order to make sure your body – and mind – are adequately prepared. Regular practice will help develop strong mental fortitude and determined concentration.

Philosophy + Origin

A physical embodiment of King Nataraja, a form of the lord Shiva, lord of the dance pose (also referred to as king dancer pose) is a tribute to this powerful god of destruction. Embracing destruction and even death as part of the cycle of change and growth, this pose is a helpful reminder that no good can exist without evil, no birth without death.

In most depictions of King Nataraja, he is standing on one leg (hence the shape of the pose), gazing over the head of a small dwarf, whose presence represents ignorance. In this way, lord of the dance pose encourages our consciousness to elevate above ignorance, above the common thoughts and misunderstandings that cloud our view. The balance that comes from the pose awakens our understanding that clarity brings steadiness.

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