In this post, we talk about the Extended Side Angle pose in Yoga and the bounded variation. Also a story of my hypermobile knee and ankle and that one time I hurt my knee in doing this Yoga pose. From the story, some short introduction about ligaments in the joints.
UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA - EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE
In Sanskrit, Utthita means Extended. You will see this name again in Triangle pose: Utthita Trikonasana. Extended refers to the arms. This Yoga pose Extended Side Angle is a brother of Warrior 2. They have exactly the same legs, and they often come together in a Yoga flow.
A story about that one time I hurt my knee so bad that I fell out of THIS SIMPLE pose and just rolling on the floor screaming. Yes, this simple Side Angle pose. I have very mobile ankle and knee joints, they tend to collapse in. I have flat feet, and in ¨simple¨ Yoga poses like Warrior 2, I just ¨hang¨ in the pose. I don't even have to try at all to be in Warrior 2, so I put too little attention and strength to my back legs.
Until that one day when I was just hanging out in Warrior 2, and changed suddenly to a Side Angle, a sharp pain attacked me in my back knee. It was so shockingly painful that I fell on the floor screaming. For a few minutes, it felt weird and painful. I was on the floor for a long time until I started moving my leg again. I was so scared that I hurt a ligament in the knee joint (who knows why), but luckily the next day I could extend my knee normally again.
About ligament in the joints: Ligaments are thin string connecting the bones at the joints. At the knee joints, between the thigh bone and shin bone, there are 4 ligaments. Unlike muscles that are elastic, ligaments are not elastic, and moreover, there's not much blood circulation into ligaments. Therefore a ligament injury takes very long to recover, and some don't even recover. The great news is that in Yoga, because the movements are so slow, we don't have bad accidents that injure ligaments. However, the injury in Yoga is about wear and tear, an impact that happens so slowly onto the joints until one day it bursts into pain.
After the weird pain happened to me, I always pay attention to activate my leg muscles to maintain stability at the knee and ankle joints. From gaining the good posture, I also feel more strength and stability in my legs in Warrior 2.
There are many variations for the arms in Side Angle pose. Many Yoga beginners find it hard to reach their hands to the floor because they are tight in the hips or the side of their torso. A simple way without using a prop is to rest the elbow on the knee. Now that the torso is in a higher position, it's less tense. Notice: don't press the upper body weight down to your elbow but rather strengthen your torso so that it has its own strength.
USE BLOCK to put your hand on instead of hand on the floor. Blocks often have 3 sides for you to choose. In the left photo, holding the block at its high side but he is feeling a lot of stretch in the hip and the side torso. However, as he progresses in Yoga, he will move on to use shorter sizes of the block and eventually maybe touch the floor.
EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE, BOUNDED VARIATION
Bounded Side Angle is a very common variation of the pose. You bring your arms behind and try to hold the hands. The arms make a bind around the whole body. However, not everyone can perform the bounded hands for a lack of joint mobility in the shoulders or the hips. A special feature of the pose is a little twist when we turn our chest up.
To start with the bound, just do half bound with your upper arm. The lower arm can hold blocks if there's not enough mobility in the hips or shoulders. The top hand reaches behind on our back. Turn chest up and move shoulder behind to encourage more shoulder opening.
One more step towards the bound is to hold a strap as a connection between the hands. This is one step further from Half Bound to Full Bound. Once you can hold the strap, walk your hands closer towards each other for progress. Until one day, you hold your hands into a real Bound.
Thank you for reading! More about Basic Standing Poses in Yoga:
About Standing Poses in Yoga - Chair Pose
Standing Poses: High Lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2
Pyramid Pose - Parsvottanasana
Extended Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana
See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:
Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations
Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!
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