Parsvakonasana: A Standing Hip Opener
Parsvakonasana, or Side angle, is a great standing exercise for opening the hips. You begin in Warrior 2. In this position, your front leg is rotated out and your back leg rotated in. This position in itself is helpful to open the hips. However, in Parsvakonasana, you hinge your torso toward your bent leg. This movement of the torso creates an additional stretch for the psoas, which is one of the major hip flexors.
The beauty of Parsvakonasana is that you can get openness in your hips without having to move to the ground. This is particularly beneficial for those who may have trouble getting up and down from the ground easily. Plus, Parsvakonasana can be done with a chair.
This pose is fabulous for everyone!
- We will use ujjayi breathing.
- Begin in Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2) with your left foot forward.
- Lift your ribs away from your hips.
- Hinge your torso to the left. As you move, keep your chest open and don’t allow it to rotate forward. Allow your fingertips to touch down either in front of or behind your ankle on the floor or a block. If this side stretch is too intense right now, bring your left forearm high on your left thigh. Make sure you do not rest here. Actively reach the ribs away from the hips.
- Check the alignment of your head and make sure it is correctly aligned with your spine. Sometimes the head can fall forward.
- With broad collarbones, bring your straight right arm by your head. Your right ear should be beside the inside of your right arm. Make sure your palm is facing down.
- Press into the outside edge of your right foot and feel the line of energy from your right foot through your fingertips.
- Hold for 5-8 breaths.
- To come out, let the right arm come by your side to help lift the torso to an upright position.
- Switch sides. Maybe you will do Parsvakonasana on the left side, then the right. Frequently, I do a combination of Warrior 2, Parsvakonasana, and Triangle pose. Then, I switch sides.
Here is a video for visual learners.
We feel a line of energy from our outside leg through our arm. Where else do you feel lines of energy? Let us know in the comments below.
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