Work on your ankles, knees, legs and more by trying the ‘side angle pose’

Lori Whitby

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

To start this week’s yoga stance, the ‘side angle pose’, Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga, says stand at the front of your mat with both feet facing forward.
“Shift your weight onto the right foot and step your left foot back three – four feet (depending on the length of your legs),” she says. “Place your left foot parallel to the short edge of your mat. Turn your upper body slightly so that your chest is now facing the left side of the room. Engage the muscles in your core as you lift the arms until they are parallel with the floor; relax the shoulders down. Start to bend your right knee as you descend into this pose, keeping the knee in line with the foot.”
Whitby adds, “Always make sure you can see your toes in front of your knee. Widen your stance as needed to make sure that your front knee does not move forward past your ankle. Begin to take the front forearm down onto the front thigh, while maintaining a long line through the body from the back ankle through the torso and the crown of the head. Reach the back hand up to the sky as you stack your shoulders on top of each other to maintain an open torso to the side. Mindfully turn your head to gaze up towards the sky.”

Beginner’s Tip:
Stop bending the front knee before the back foot lifts off the ground.
Try not to lean too heavily onto the front leg; use core strength to hold yourself in the pose. Place the back hand on the top hip if it feels better. Only turn your head as far as it feels comfortable.

Benefits:
Strengthens and stretches the ankles, knees, legs, hips, shoulders and core.

Make it more challenging:
Hover the front arm over the thigh to increase core strength or reach the front hand down towards the earth or a yoga block on the outside of the front leg.

Cautions:
Anyone with knee pain should begin with the back against the wall.

Yoga instructor trainee Karen demonstrating side angle pose.

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