Pose of the Month: Bound Extended Side Angle Pose (February)
Feel a stretch along your whole side while strengthening your entire body and opening your heart in Bound Extended Side Angle pose. This more challenging variation of Side Angle pose is a “bind”, which is a category of yoga pose that involves linking your hands in a way that rotates your upper body and shoulders. According to Yoga Journal, “This link causes the body to be "bound" and held as a container, and therefore constricted in some ways by the arms and hands. Binds require flexibility both in the physical body -- in order to come into and maintain the pose -- and in the mind, in order to stay present and sustain the pose.”
Benefits of Bound Extended Side Angle:
Relieves stiffness in the neck and back
Can reduce sciatica and low back pain
Strengthens legs, knees and ankles
Increases shoulder mobility
Stretches and tones abdominal muscles
Stimulates digestion and circulation
Improves focus and mental endurance
Step by Step Guide:
Begin in mountain pose, standing at the front of your mat. Turn to face the left side of your mat and extend your arms out at shoulder height.
Separate your feet about 3.5 feet apart, or as wide as your wrists.
Keep your right foot pointing towards the front of your mat and allow your left foot to turn towards the long side of your mat.
Bend your right knee so that it aligns over your ankle and points towards your center toes.
Keep your torso facing the left side of your mat and lower your right hand down to the earth.
Take your left hand behind your back. Weave your right arm under your front thigh in order to clasp your hands together behind your bottom thigh or near your low back.
Lean your upper body back in line with your leg.
Keeping the spine long, rotate the chest up as you roll the top shoulder back so that it stacks over the bottom shoulder.
Draw belly towards spine engaging the abdomen. Keep the collarbones wide and maintain a strong base in the legs.
Repeat with left leg in front.
If your hands are not able to touch yet, use a yoga belt and hold it in each hand.
This pose is also great without the bind. Try placing your bottom hand on a block and extend your top arm past your ear.