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How to do Parsvakonasana, Standing Side Stretch

Yoga classes in Milton Keynes

Parsvakonasana Standing Side Stretch pose engages the thigh muscles and awakens the inner leg from the groin right down to the ankles. Many of our day-to-day movements are simple forward and backward movements and we stretch sideways less often. Use lateral stretching to encourage lateral thinking.

Mountain Pose, Tadasana

1. Stand in Mountain Pose, Tadasana

1. Stand in Mountain Pose. Step the feet wide apart. Place both hands on the hips. Square the hips to the front.
2. Bend the right knee to 90 degrees so the thighbone is parallel to the floor. Make sure the knee is directly above, not in front of, the hinge of the ankle.Standing Side Stretch step 2
3. Exhale and side bend the upper body to bring the right side ribs on top of the right thigh. Place the palm of the right hand on the floor beside the little toe.Press the outer right knee against your right arm and rotate the abdomen and chest toward the sky. At the same time, press your right knee back against your arm to maintain maximum width across the front of the hips.
4. Reestablished your firm foundation by reinforcing the working of the legs. Press strongly into the outer edge of the left foot. Keep the right sitting bone moving back toward the left heel. Even while the right knee remains strongly bent, let the pelvis float (not sink) and take the minimum possible weight through on the right hand.

Standing Side Stretch step 5

5. Extend the inner upper left arm over the left ear, palm facing the floor. Now push through the left side ribs so they curve up to the sky and awaken the stretch all the way along the left side of the body. Repeat on the other side.


Gaze: The top hand
Build up poses:

Counter Poses:

  • Mountain Pose
  • Deep Forward Fold


  • Instead of bringing the hand to the floor, rest the elbow on top of the knee
  • Keep the back of the left hand on the base of the spine

Effect: Grounding, Opening


If you find Standing Side Stretch pose difficult at first, lighten the pose by instead of bringing the hand to the floor, rest the elbow on top of the knee as below.

Standing Side Stretch alternative pose

Parsvakonasana, Standing Side Stretch Counter Poses

In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.

Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Deep Fold Forward, Uttanasana

Deep Fold Forward Pose, Uttanasana