In many schools of yoga, there is a heavy focus on alignment — specifically, helping students achieve proper, safe alignment. Like I always say, there is no perfect way to look in a pose, but it is important to know where your body should be headed.
Extended side angle pose, or utthita parsvakonasana (utthita = extended + parsva = side + kona = angle + asana = pose), stretches the legs, hips, spine and side body. It also strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles. The twisting action in the pose stimulates the abdominal muscles and internal organs which is so, so good for you.
Start in warrior two with your right foot at the front of your mat. Turn your right toes forward, and then turn your left toes to the left edge of your mat (heel kicked back slightly). Bend into your right knee so that it comes over your right ankle, and extend your right arm front, left arm back.
From warrior two, move into extended side angle pose. Reach your right arm forward and place it on the mat (or a block) inside your right ankle. Reach your left arm forward towards the front of your mat — bicep by your ear, palm facing down. If you have a healthy neck, turn your gaze up.
Now, check your pose. Are you pressing firmly into your feet? Are your leg muscles engaged? Are your twisting your heart open? Is your left shoulder open or collapsing down?
In addition to these cues, think about lengthening your spine. Avoid back-bending. Also, open your left hip by drawing it back in line with your right (similar to triangle pose).
Remember, it’s not what the pose looks like… it’s how the pose feels.