Hello Scarlet Caps! It's time for another yoga pose. Today we're going to explore extended side angle, which is one of my favorite standing poses. Let's have a look.
Benefits: Opens chest, shoulders and legs; strengthens core, hips and quadriceps; stretches sides of the body.
Start in a standing position with your arms at your sides and your feet a few inches apart. Step your right foot back a few feet and turn the foot sideways at nearly a 90 degree angle; your front foot should still be facing forward and your ankles should be roughly in a line with one another. Open your chest, shoulders and torso to the side wall. Distribute your weight evenly between your front and back feet. Stand up tall, relax, open up your chest and breathe.
Gently bend your front knee taking care to bend it over your ankle. As you do this, remember to play your edge. Make sure you keep weight in the back leg and foot; otherwise, your front quad muscles are going to be doing all the work. If the front knee bends forward of your ankle, scoot your foot forward until the knee is stacked over the ankle.
Next, engage your core muscles and lower your left forearm onto your front thigh at the same time that you extend your right arm and bring it alongside your ear. Again, make sure that the back leg is engaged and your foot is really grounded and strong. Gently stretch from your right foot through your right fingertips while keeping the core and left leg engaged and strong.
Take a few breaths and use your core muscles to lift your torso back up and lower your arms down. Now simply pivot your feet 180 degrees so you are facing the opposite direction and repeat on the other side.
Personally, I prefer to move in and out of the pose about three times on each side, rather than holding it. I find that by moving this way I'm able to get more opening, but you should do whatever works best for you. Enjoy!