Pyramid Pose: Parsvottanasana

Updated: Jan 14



Name:

Pyramid Pose/Intense Side Stretch Pose


Sanskrit: Parsvottanasana


Pose Intensity: Strong


Goal: Stretch the front hamstring


Getting into the Pose:


From Tadasana (Mountain Pose),

Exhale and step the left foot back to hip distant apart. Align the front right heel with the back foot arch. The back left foot is opened to 45 degrees, pointing to the top left corner of the mat.

Inhale rest the hands on the hips

Engage the thighs and keep a slight micro-bend in the front knee to protect it.

Exhale, engage the lower belly and lean the torso over the right leg, keeping a long spine. Press the fingers tips to the ground framing the front right foot. If the fingers do not reach the ground, support the hands on a pair of blocks, or books. Lengthen the spine and pull through the sternum rather than the head.


Hold this pose for 5 breaths, inhaling to lengthen through the head, elongating the spine, and exhaling to pull down the heart. Avoid rounding the back in this pose.


Coming out of the Pose:


Come up on an inhalation and press through the back heel. Tuck the tailbone, squeeze the glutes and legs and lift the torso to standing. Repeat on the other side


Variation:


The full pose is performed with the hands behind the back in Anjali Mudra. To get into the pose with Anjali Mudra. From Tadasana, Press the palms together behind the back, with the thumbs resting on the sacrum and the fingers facing towards the ground. Slowly, rotate the wrists until the fingers point first towards the sacrum, then towards the head. Slide the hands up the back, while lifting the chest and opening the shoulders. Open the chest bu do not bring a backbend into this pose.

Slide the hands up to where is comfortable, if they reach between the scapula, that's great! Press the pinkies firmly against the spine. Lift through the elbows and pull the shoulders away from the ears. Now continue with the pose.


Modifications:


If the hands do not reach the ground, use blocks to a comfortable height on either side of the front foot for support.

If the back heel is lifting, practice against a wall by pressing the back heel into a wall. The contact will help keep the heel grounded.

If you want to work on Anjali Mudra, use a strap to hold behind the back, or alternatively, hold opposite elbows behind the back. Making sure the pull shoulders away from the ears and to open the chest to gain maximum openess.


The 3 Top Tips


1. Keep the hips square. Rotate the torso slightly towards the front leg and actively pull the front hip back and the back hip forward.

2. Shorten the stance. The legs want to be just a little more than hip distant apart.

3. This is a great pose for stretching the hamstrings, but be very careful not to overstretch. Keep both legs active by firming up the thighs and be careful not to overstretch and damage the tendons behind the knees.


The Basics

Benefits


- Strengthens the legs

- Stretches the spine

- Calms the mind

- improves balance

- Stimulates the abdominal muscles

- Stimulates digestion

- Opens the front body (full posture)

- Stretches the wrist (full posture)


Cautions


If you have high blood pressure or a back injury, avoid the full forward fold. Instead go with the half fold, with a flat back. If you have knee problems, keep a bend in the front knee and try the half fold to not aggravate it.




The primary goal of this pose is to stretch the front hamstrings. Even if you are only moving an inch towards your front leg to feel this stretch, you're doing great! Give your hamstring time to adapt.