Extended side angle pose is part of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga and a key component of other styles of yoga. With its emphasis on the body's core, extended side angle pose is believed to aid the nervous system and strengthen the spine. It is also thought to have these additional benefits:
- Increased endurance
- Improved digestion and lung function
- Relief from back and shoulder stiffness
- Flexibility in the hamstring and groin muscles
- Core strength and flexibility
- Increased strength in the legs, knees and ankles
This pose is best practiced in the beginning or middle of a sequence of standing poses because it prepares the body for deeper stretches.
Those with a neck injury or pain should keep their gaze straight ahead, rather than turning the head upward.