Extended side angle, or Utthita Parsvakonasana in Sanskrit, is a delightfully beneficial posture. This pose is challenging and therapeutic providing you with a variety of benefits. This pose can be part of a series of postures during your practice or alone as a nice break from your day.
Lengthening and awareness of the side body. Many yoga poses focus on forward folds or back bending and our daily activities often result in a hunched over position that the side body can be neglected and tight. This pose provides the entire side body from the toes all the way up to the fingertips with a beautiful stretch. This is especially good for you if you walk, run or cycle on a regular basis.
Strengthens your muscles. This pose not only lengthens your body but strengthens many muscles in your legs, shoulders, arms and core.
Develops muscular endurance. Holding this posture for a minimum of three breaths allow you to sink deeper and hold the muscles in an isometric contraction, which develops endurance in your muscles allowing you to hold this and other postures for extended periods of time.
Great chest opener. Due to the twist at the core, which allows your gaze to go up under your arm the chest is able to fully open. All chest openers open the heart chakra allowing you to give an receive love more freely.
Can be made easier or more difficult. Depending on your level of fitness or experience with yoga you can regress or progress the difficulty of this pose. To make this posture a little easier, than what is shown in the picture, place your elbow on the the knee rather than placing the hand on the ground. If you want to make it harder and binding is in your practice then reach the top hand behind your back, your bottom under your front leg and grasp the hands together into a bind.
The benefits of yoga are endless. All it takes is daily practice if even more a moment.