When I first learned Side angle pose I immediately wanted to take it to the extreme. I knew my hips and quads could withhold the strength needed of them to hold this accurately while getting my hand to the floor, and so I went for it. I never felt like the pose was doing anything for me though. Eventually I started regularly taking a bind in order to feel this pose elsewhere in my body other than my legs. This went on for about 2 years before I came to the mat one day feeling exhausted and sore. When side angle came up I went for the most modified version I could find with my front elbow resting on my front knee, and my world changed. The side bend became real. I could feel it, I could manipulate it, and I felt great in this pose; something I had been striving for all this time. From then on I started always bringing my elbow to my knee. Don’t get me wrong there are days I need to feel the strength inside me and so Ill take a bind, but most days I can get better results in my body from taking a modified version of this. I tell you this not to make you think that you have to do your side angle pose the same way I do, but to remind you that even though you can do things one way, not to exclude other variations. If I had, I never would have found the benefits to side angle.
Starting on the right side
1. Coming from warrior 2, lean towards the front of the room, over the right leg, and allow the right hand to come down towards the floor. As the hand goes lower, so do the hips.
2. Extend the left arm towards the front of the room as well to add length to the left side.
Now the Left side
1. Coming from warrior 2, lean towards the front of the room, over the left leg, and allow the left hand to come down towards the floor.
2. Extend the right arm towards the front of the room as well to add length to the right side.
Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
Relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back
Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
Therapeutic for constipation, infertility, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, and low backache.
Stimulates abdominal organs and muscles
Opens the side body
If the side bend is too much, or if lowering the hips is too much with your hand on the floor you can take the elbow to the knee instead.
Or you can place your hand on a block.
If balancing in this pose is difficult, you can look down at the floor to steady you or to the side.
If balancing in this pose is to easy, you can look up at the ceiling, or close your eyes.
You can add a bind to this pose, which will increases the balancing difficulty as well as create a more heart/chest and shoulder opener. I will go over this on your right side. To do this, first check that you are comfortable lowering the hips and deepening the side bend until your right hand can comfortably come to the ground. Keeping the body where it is lift your hand up off the ground to check that you are still engaging the core and legs, rather than leaning on your hand. Take your left arm down and let your hand hang out by your buttocks until you are ready for it. Allow your right shoulder to lower until it is just below the right leg, and then slide your arm under your leg, and grab your left wrist with it. There are a few options you can do from here depending on what you are trying to accomplish by taking a bind.
If the side bend is too much, allow your upper arm to come up into the air and reach upwards instead.
You can also add a twist to this, start with a block first, and as you become ok with the bend, let your self come to the floor.
Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, neck or shoulders.
High or low blood pressure
If you have a neck injury or current neck pain, do not turn your head upward in the pose