How to come into Extended Side Angle
How to extended side angle arm variations? Stand facing the long side of the mat. Stretch your legs wide and place your ankles below your wrists. Turn your right leg away from your body towards the front of the mat, keeping your hips and back foot angled inward. As you exhale, lower your front knee towards Warrior 2. As you inhale, expand your pelvis and straighten your front leg. Place your right hand outside or inside your right foot, or explore any of the below options for what to do with your arms. When you’re ready to return to the starting position, inhale yourself upright. Straighten both legs and repeat on your left side.
How to vary your arm placement in Extended Side Anglea
1. Hand on a block
In Ashtanga, you often hear the cue, “Get your palm flat to the floor, disregard your spine.” Although no one has actually said this, when most people practice Extended Side Angle, it appears as if they are doing it. It’s okay and encouraged to bring the floor to you, whether you need one block or three. If blocks don’t make the stretch feel comfortable for you, keep reading.
2. Elbow on thigh
Don’t attempt to stretch your legs if they are uncomfortable. Instead, straighten your elbow and support your forearm on your leg. I found this version to be especially ergogenic during pregnancy.
3. Hand on hip
Keeping your hand on your hip while reaching your arm overhead can make performing the Extended Side Angle difficult or even impossible. Reaching straight up, as taught in the traditional Extended Side Angle, can also be demanding or even impossible.
4. Half bind
In Extended Side Angle, you take one hand to the mat or a block alongside your front foot and reach the other arm behind your back and bend your elbow. The position of the top arm encourages your chest and top shoulder to open and stretches the pectoral muscles (and, some teachers would say, opens the lungs and heart). Despite getting all the attention, remain vigilant of your bottom shoulder, as it can creep up near the ear or collapse a little. I imagine dragging my palm toward the back of the mat to release the trapezius.
5. Full bind
With your right arm behind your back and your left arm hang down below your leg, clasp your hands with your left wrist. Or simply try to clasp your left wrist with your right hand. The most common reason for binds is not to clasp them but to open the chest in the aftermath. If you find that clasping your hands is difficult or that they have to lie down toward the mat, you might grab a strap or towel to connect them. I am convinced that full binds can be performed only by those people whose arms are long enough to reach.
6. Interlaced fingers
To increase the shoulder opening potential in this pose, interlace your hands behind your back (or hold a strap or a towel with your hands) In Extended Side Angle. This version is excellent for strengthening your legs as you only rely on them to support your posture.
7. Both arms overhead
Look, ma, no hands! This form of Extended Side Angle Arm Variations requires trunk stability to laterally flex your pelvis while reaching both arms alongside your head, hence it is a powerful core strengthener. To remain more upright with your torso, maintain equal lengths in your spine, and avoid getting closer to your front thigh, try keeping your posture more upright rather than closer to your front leg.