Extended side angle pose is a great pose for creating length in your side body; it’s also a personal favorite to flow into from Warrior II pose. In this article, we’ll be exploring how to take your Extended Side Angle Pose deeper with this guide on How to do Bound Side Angle pose and some of the benefits of this pose.
Extended side angle pose is a good pose to practice at the beginning of a standing sequence; it strengthens the whole body. It specifically builds strength in your lower body as you’re forced to balance most of your weight on that bent leg, deepens flexibility in your hips, engages your core and relieves any stiffness in your shoulders.
One thing to note though is that extended side angle is not a backbend – I made this mistake for quite a while when I first began my own yoga practice. In this pose, your upper body faces the long edge of the mat, while the shoulder of the extended arm rotates up and back. Avoid turning your upper body towards the ceiling.
Ideally, you should not attempt this bound version if you are not able to hold the full version of extended side angle pose comfortably. The bind requires deeper shoulder flexibility and core strength to stay lifted; if you’re not able to hold side angle pose comfortably, getting into the bind while keeping your upper body facing the long edge of the mat will be pretty difficult.
Some other things to pay attention to in Bound Side Angle Pose – Ensure that the bent knee stays stacked above the ankle and that the knee isn’t dropping inward. Doing this can place too much strain on the knee joint. In addition, ensure that the top shoulder is not turning towards the floor but opening to the side instead. Picture a straight line with your ankle, leg, hips and chest.
How to do Bound Side Angle Pose
Beginning in Warrior II pose with your right leg bent, lean forward and place your right palm on the mat next to the foot of your bent leg. Reach your left arm up next to your ear and create a straight line from your foot to your fingers with your palm facing downwards.
This will bring you into extended side angle pose.
To enter the bind, wrap your lifted left arm behind you and bring it under your bent right leg. Lift your right palm off the floor, wrap it under your right thigh and grab your left wrist on the outside of your right hip. Push that right shoulder firmly into the right thigh to prevent your knee from collapsing inward and create more length in the spine.
You may need to lean your upper body forward and down slightly to grab your wrists. Once you have a firm bind, begin to lift and rotate your upper body up away from your bent right thigh.
Keep your gaze focused on the spot next to your right foot until you feel stable in the pose. Once you do, begin to shift your gaze upwards. But do this carefully as shifting your gaze challenges your balance also! Avoid shifting your gaze if you have any neck issues.To come out, release the bind, place your right palm back on the floor for support and lift up into Warrior II pose.
To come out, release the bind, place your right palm back on the floor for support and lift up into Warrior II pose.
Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, and cores.
Stretches the spine, waist, groin, shoulders, and chest.
If you have a hard time getting into the bind, you can cautiously grab onto a strap with both hands and avoid pushing too far past your limit as this can lead to shoulder injury.
If keeping the back heel on the floor is a challenge for you, practice this pose close to a wall with the back heel pushing against the wall. Pressing the wall away from you with the back heel helps it stay grounded.