This pose is a sort of a cross between Triangle Pose and Warrior Pose I. Most beginners find it quite tough as it requires good balance, strength, stamina and flexibility. So, I don’t introduce it until the last couple of weeks of a beginners’s course to give people a chance to develop these qualities through easier poses. The version I am describing here is a modified version using the wall and a radiator (if possible) to help you learn the correct alignment of the pose i.e. how to keep the head and neck and spine in line while practicing the position.

Side Angle Pose is a fantastic position. It stretches the entire side of the body from the outer edge of the heel right up into the fingertips of the extended hand. It also opens the hips and improves digestion. Like all standing poses, it increases strength and vitality.

How to practice Side Angle Pose:

  • Stand in Mountain Pose with your back against a radiator. Inhale, exhale and take your legs apart. The distance between your legs should be more than the length of one of your legs.
  • Inhale, exhale, and turn your right foot 90 degrees out to the right and your left foot 45 degrees inwards. At the same time, extend your arms out to the side at shoulder height with your palms facing the floor.
  • Inhale, exhale and begin to bend your right knee until the back of the knee is in line with the right heel. Do not bend the knee further than this point.
  • Inhale, exhale, and with the back of your head in contact with the wall, lengthen the entire right side of the body and slide it down the wall to the right, until you can place your right hand on the radiator. If this is not possible, bend your elbow and rest your lower arm on your thigh.
  • Keeping your left arm in contact with the wall, stretch your left arm overhead so that the left side of the body forms one continuous  line from the outer edge of the left heel, right up the side of the body, into the left arm and all the way into the fingertips of the left hand. The palm faces outwards with the back of the hand resting against the wall. Resist the temptation to rest the weight of the body into the hand or arm. Instead, the pelvis and upper thighs should be doing most of the work to keep you supported. Look straight ahead.
  • As you inhale, stretch up into the fingertips. As you exhale, keep the tailbone moving down towards the left heel. The right knee tends to collapse inwards so keep resisting it outwards.
  • Hold for 6 breaths. Repeat on left side. Repeat x1.
  • Eventually, when you are confident in the position, you can come away from the wall. You can also try the full version of the pose by extending the side of the body fully and placing your hand near the inside of the foot of the bent leg. But DO learn this version from an experienced teacher.

NEED HELP? This is a demanding position so only practice it when your energy is high. For this reason, also, do not practice the pose more than twice a week.

STOP! ~ DO NOT take your arm over your head if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems. Place it on your hip instead.

~ Go easy if you suffer from lower back problems, prolapse of the uterus or knee problems. If your legs are flexible enough, you could practice the pose sitting astride a chair. The same applies to women in the later stages of pregnancy.

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