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Dutch Smiling Yogi in Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Side Angle pose- Utthita Parsvakonasana

Hips are – together with neck, shoulders and cheekbones –  the main ‘stress areas’ in the body. It’s one of the reasons why there are so many hip openers in yoga. One of the best asanas the open the upper part of the hip, is Utthita Parsvakonasana – extended side angle pose, which targets the attachment of the  latissimus dorsi muscle; the (swimmers) muscle that is attached at the pelvis (crista iliac) and the upper arm and forms the   superficial of the back. Stretching this muscle releases a lot of tension in the hips.

Getting in to Utthita Parsvakonasana – extended side angle pose

– Start in Tadasana

– Step your right foot out in a wide legged pose. Open your arms, till they are on shoulder level. Your feet should be under your wrist. Palms of your hands facing downwards.

– Turn your right foot 90 degrees out and your left foot slightly in. Bend your right leg, bringing your knee above your ankle. Your right thigh should be parallel to the floor.

– Bring your right elbow on top of your right thigh. Stretch your left arm over your head, keeping the arm straight and the palm of your hand turned towards to floor to engage the latissimus dorsi. Look towards your left hand.

– Open your left shoulder and left hip. Open your chest. Stretch your whole spine.

– Keep pressure on the outside of your left foot. Your left hand wants to go forward, your left hip want to go backwards; opening up the side of your hip and your latissimus dorsi muscle.

– Stay in the pose for something in between half and a whole minute.

– Slowly come out of the pose and switch sides.


-Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles

-Realigns thighs and calves

-Stretches chest, shoulders, relieves sciatica pain

-Stimulates abdominal organs

-Stretches the latissimus dorsi.

Source: Iyengar – Light on Yoga / Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long / Ashtanga – David Swenson /  Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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