Stretch your outer hips and hamstrings, lengthen your spine and encourage quietude as well as self-reflection in Intense Side Stretch (Parsvottanasana). Being partially a forward bend and partially a balancing pose, this pose is a mid-way pose between Parivrtta Trikonasana and Utthita Trikonasana. This asana is also popularly called the Pyramid Pose because it looks like a pyramid.
Begin in Tadasana. Inhale deeply and jump your feet one metre apart. Keep your hands on your hips and exhale while stretching your body forward. Keep your leg muscles stretch and breathe as you extend into the crown of your head.
Inhale and extend your arms forward. Then exhale and bring your palms together behind you into namaste. Inhale and bring your torso upright. Inhale and then turn your chest to the right. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right and rotate your left foot about 70 degrees to the right.
Exhale and move the torso forward slowly, pausing parallel to the ground for a breath. Then exhale all the way down so that your forehead rests on your knees.
Extend into your crown, stretching your back and try to get your note, then lips and then chin onto your knee and your chest onto your thigh.
Tighten your knee caps and hold. Breathe deeply. Inhale and slowly move your torso to stop parallel to the ground. Swing round to face the front and adjust your feet so that your toes point forward. Keep your gaze to the floor and breathe.
Inhale and slowly move your torso to stop parallel to the ground and swing round to face the front. Change up the position of your feet so that your toes are pointing forward and keep your gaze to the floor. Breathe. Inhale and then turn your torso to the left to repeat on the other side.
After holding for between 30 seconds and one minute, with deep breathing, slowly move your torso to stop parallel to the ground and swing round to face the front. Bring your body into an upright position and jump your feet back into Tadasana.
What does Parsvottanasana do?
Parsvottanasana has the following benefits:
- Relieves stiffness in, and strengthens the legs and hips
- Stretches the spine and shoulders
- Abdominal organs are contracted and toned
- Digestion improves
- Stiffness in the wrists is removed
- Corrects rounded and droopy shoulders
- Improves posture and sense of balance
- Calms the brain
For Parsvottanasana beginners
If you can’t do a backward namaste, then hold your elbows with your forearms parallel to the floor. When the right leg is in the front, bring the left arm first. If your arms get tired is namaste then rest them on the hips when in the centre before doing the second side.
For Parsvottanasana advanced students
With your nose to your chin and your chest on your thigh, release namaste, interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out behind you. Use blocks if you can’t reach. If your back heel is lifting as you bend into this pose, practise with your back heel pressed to a wall as the heel’s contact with the wall will help you to keep it grounded.
If you’re fighting against high blood pressure or have a back injury, avoid the full forward bend.
Preparatory poses include:
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Anjali Mudra
- Baddha Konasana
- Prasarita Padottanasana
- Supta Baddha Konasana
- Utthta Parsvakonasana
- Utthita Trikonasana
Parsvottanasana is an excellent standing pose to prepare for seated forward bends and twists.
- Mountain Pose
- Supported Bridge
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