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Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose): Step-by-Step Guide, Benefits, and Variations

Parsvakonasana, also known as Side Angle Pose, is a powerful standing pose that combines strength, balance, and flexibility. It is an integral part of many yoga sequences and offers a myriad of benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. In this blog, we will explore the meaning, steps, alignment cues, benefits, variations, and safety precautions of Parsvakonasana.

Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

The Sanskrit name "Parsvakonasana" is derived from three words: "Parsva" meaning "side," "Kona" meaning "angle," and "Asana" meaning "pose." The name itself reflects the fundamental aspect of this pose, which involves a deep side stretch and a dynamic angle created between the body and the extended arm.

There are three primary variations of Parsvakonasana - Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, and Baddha Parsvakonasana. Each pose offers its own unique benefits and challenges, allowing practitioners to explore different aspects of strength, flexibility, and balance.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Meaning: Utthita Parsvakonasana, also known as Extended Side Angle Pose, combines strength, balance, and a deep stretch. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words "utthita" meaning extended, "parsva" meaning side, and "kona" meaning angle.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

How to Do Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

Follow these step-by-step instructions to practice Parsvakonasana:

  1. Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), standing tall at the top of your mat.

  2. Take a wide step to the right, extending your arms parallel to the floor.

  3. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and align your heel with the arch of your left foot.

  4. Bend your right knee, ensuring it is directly above your ankle.

  5. As you bend your right knee, lower your torso towards the right thigh.

  6. Rest your right forearm on your right thigh, reaching your left arm overhead, creating a straight line from your left fingertips to your left heel.

  7. Gently turn your head to gaze either upward or forward.

  8. Hold the pose for several breaths, feeling the stretch along your right side.

  9. To release, inhale as you press through your right foot, straightening the right leg, and return to the starting position.

  10. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side.

When to Do Parsvakonasana

Parsvakonasana can be practiced at any time of the day. It is often included in the middle or toward the end of a yoga sequence to warm up the body and prepare it for more intense poses. You can also practice it as a standalone pose to awaken your energy and cultivate a sense of stability and focus.

Preparatory Poses

Before attempting Parsvakonasana, it is beneficial to prepare your body with the following poses:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): Downward-Facing Dog stretches the entire body and prepares the shoulders, hips, and hamstrings for the side angle stretch in Parsvakonasana.

  2. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose): Extended Triangle Pose helps to open the chest, stretch the side body, and strengthen the legs, creating a solid foundation for Parsvakonasana.

Follow-Up Poses

After practicing Parsvakonasana, you can move into the following poses to further deepen your practice:

  1. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose): This pose expands on the side angle stretch by extending the arm overhead, creating a deeper opening in the side body and hips.

  2. Vrksasana (Tree Pose): Tree Pose helps to improve balance and stability while grounding your energy after the dynamic movement of Parsvakonasana.


Parsvakonasana primarily activates and balances the Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, located in the lower abdomen. This chakra is associated with creativity, sensuality, and the ability to embrace change. By opening the hips and energizing the pelvis, Parsvakonasana stimulates the Svadhisthana Chakra, allowing for the flow of creative and emotional energy.

 Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra

Mantra for this Pose

While practicing Parsvakonasana, you can incorporate a mantra or affirmation to deepen your experience. A powerful mantra to chant or silently repeat is "I embrace the strength and grace within me." This mantra reminds you to tap into your inner power and find balance between strength and softness.

Alignment Cues

To optimize your alignment in Parsvakonasana, keep the following cues in mind:

  1. Front knee alignment: Ensure your front knee is directly above your ankle, forming a 90-degree angle. Avoid letting the knee collapse inward or extend beyond the ankle to protect the knee joint.

  2. Torso position: Keep your torso long and parallel to the floor, avoiding any rounding or collapsing in the chest or shoulders.

  3. Extended arm alignment: Reach your extended arm overhead in line with your ear, creating a straight line from your fingertips to your heel.

  4. Hip stability: Engage the muscles of your back leg and inner thigh to stabilize the hips and maintain a strong foundation.

Duration of Hold

Hold Parsvakonasana for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. As you become more comfortable with the pose, you can gradually increase the duration to deepen the stretch and build strength.


Direct your gaze upward or forward, depending on your comfort and balance. The Drishti (gazing point) helps to improve focus and stability in the pose.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Parsvakonasana not only engages the physical body but also invites spiritual and energetic awareness. As you practice, cultivate the following awareness:

  1. Physical awareness: Tune into the sensations in your body, noticing the stretch along the side body, engagement of the legs, and the activation of the core muscles.

  2. Breath awareness: Breath deeply and consciously, allowing the breath to flow freely through the body, facilitating a sense of expansion and release.

  3. Energetic awareness: Visualize the energy flowing through your body, from the ground up through the feet and legs, extending through the fingertips and crown of the head. Feel a connection between the earth and sky, grounding and expanding simultaneously.

Beginners' Tips

If you are new to Parsvakonasana, consider the following tips to enhance your practice:

  1. Use a block: Place a block under your bottom hand for support if you cannot comfortably reach the floor. This modification allows you to focus on the alignment and stability of the pose.

  2. Modify the depth of the bend: If you have limited flexibility or tightness in the hips, you can reduce the depth of the bend in the front knee. Gradually increase the depth as your flexibility improves.

Who Should Not Do Parsvakonasana

While Parsvakonasana offers numerous benefits, there are certain conditions in which it is best to avoid or modify the pose. If you have any of the following conditions, please consult with a healthcare professional before practicing Parsvakonasana:

  1. Recent or chronic knee injury: If you have a knee injury or discomfort, it's important to approach Parsvakonasana with caution or avoid it altogether.

  2. High or low blood pressure: Individuals with uncontrolled high or low blood pressure should modify the pose by keeping the front leg less bent and avoiding excessive strain.

Who Should Do Parsvakonasana

Parsvakonasana is generally suitable for most practitioners and can be modified to accommodate different levels of flexibility and strength. It is beneficial for:

  1. Those seeking to improve lower body strength and stability.

  2. Individuals wanting to increase flexibility in the hips, groin, and hamstrings.

  3. People desiring a pose that combines strength, balance, and a deep stretch.

  4. Those looking to cultivate focus, concentration, and a sense of grounding.

Benefits of Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

The regular practice of Parsvakonasana provides a wide range of benefits for the body, mind, and spirit:

  1. Strengthened legs and core: Parsvakonasana engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, toning and strengthening the lower body. The pose also activates the core muscles, improving stability and balance.

  2. Increased flexibility: The deep side stretch in Parsvakonasana opens the hips, groin, and hamstrings, enhancing overall flexibility and range of motion.

  3. Improved digestion: The compression in the abdomen during the pose stimulates the digestive organs, promoting healthy digestion and alleviating bloating or discomfort.

  4. Energetic activation: Parsvakonasana stimulates the Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, awakening creativity, sensuality, and emotional balance.

  5. Strengthened focus and concentration: The combination of physical strength and mindful awareness in Parsvakonasana cultivates mental focus and concentration, enhancing overall clarity and presence.

Variations for Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

To explore different dimensions of Parsvakonasana, you can experiment with the following variations:

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Meaning: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, or Revolved Side Angle Pose, involves a twist that brings a deep opening and cleansing to the body. "Parivrtta" means revolved, "parsva" means side, and "kona" means angle.

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

How to do it Parivrtta Parsvakonasana:

  1. Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) at the top of your mat.

  2. Step your left foot back, approximately 3 to 4 feet, turning it out slightly.

  3. Bend your right knee, ensuring it aligns with the ankle, and lower your hips into a lunge position.

  4. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms facing down.

  5. Exhale and twist your torso to the right, bringing your left hand to the outside of your right foot. Your right arm reaches up toward the sky, creating a straight line from your fingertips to your heel.

  6. Keep your gaze either forward or up toward your right hand.

  7. Engage your core and press through the outer edge of your left foot, feeling a deep twist through your spine and torso.

  8. Hold the pose for several breaths, maintaining stability and finding length with each inhale and depth with each exhale.

  9. To release, inhale and unwind the twist, coming back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose)

Meaning: Baddha Parsvakonasana, or Bound Side Angle Pose, combines the elements of a deep side stretch with a bind, enhancing strength, flexibility, and opening in the body. "Baddha" means bound, "parsva" means side, and "kona" means angle.

Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose)

How to do it Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose):

  1. Start in Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) on the right side.

  2. Take your left hand behind your back and reach for your right inner thigh or bind your hands together behind your back.

  3. Maintain the bend in your right knee and keep your gaze forward or up toward the sky.

  4. Engage your core and breathe deeply, feeling the stretch and opening in your chest, shoulders, and hips.

  5. Hold the pose for several breaths, allowing yourself to find stability and comfort in the bind.

  6. To release, gently unbind your hands or release your grip on your thigh. Inhale and come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Modifications for Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)

If you have specific limitations or are a beginner, the following modifications can help you practice Parsvakonasana with ease and safety:

  1. Use a block or support: Place a block under your bottom hand or rest your forearm on your thigh if reaching the floor is challenging. This modification provides stability and allows you to focus on alignment.

  2. Reduce the bend in the front knee: If you experience discomfort in the knee, decrease the depth of the bend in the front knee. Gradually increase the bend as your knee becomes stronger and more flexible.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes when practicing Parsvakonasana to ensure a safe and effective experience:

  1. Collapsing the chest and shoulders: Keep the chest open and broad, drawing the shoulders away from the ears to maintain proper alignment.

  2. Letting the front knee collapse inward: Ensure that the front knee stays aligned with the ankle and does not collapse inward, protecting the knee joint from strain.

  3. Overarching or rounding the lower back: Maintain a neutral spine, avoiding excessive arching or rounding of the lower back. Engage the core to support the spine throughout the pose.

Safety and Precautions

While Parsvakonasana is generally safe for most practitioners, it's important to keep the following safety and precautionary measures in mind:

  1. Avoid the pose if you have a recent or chronic knee injury. Modify the pose by reducing the depth of the front knee bend or consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

  2. If you have a shoulder injury or discomfort, modify the position of the extended arm, placing it on your hip or using a block for support.

  3. Listen to your body and respect its limits. If you experience pain or discomfort, ease out of the pose and modify as needed.

  4. If you are pregnant, consult with a qualified prenatal yoga teacher or healthcare professional before practicing Parsvakonasana. Modify the pose to ensure comfort and safety for you and your baby.

Additional Preparation Tips

To enhance your practice and create a supportive environment for Parsvakonasana, consider the following tips:

Direction to Face While Doing This Pose and Why: Face towards the long edge of your yoga mat while practicing Parsvakonasana. This direction allows for better alignment of the hips and facilitates a deeper stretch in the side body.

What to Wear for This Pose: Choose comfortable and stretchy yoga attire that allows for freedom of movement. Opt for form-fitting clothes that won't restrict your range of motion during the pose.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Practice Parsvakonasana in a quiet and well-ventilated space. Create a serene atmosphere by diffusing essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus, or use a scented candle with a calming fragrance.

Music for This Pose: Select gentle and soothing instrumental music to accompany your practice of Parsvakonasana. Relaxing melodies or nature sounds can enhance the overall experience and help you find a sense of calm and focus.

Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose) offers a beautiful combination of strength, stretch, and mindful awareness. By practicing this pose with proper alignment and modifications as needed, you can enjoy its numerous benefits for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Remember to listen to your body, respect your limitations, and approach the pose with a sense of curiosity, joy, and self-compassion.

Happy yoga-ing, everyone!


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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