How To Do The Parsvottanasana And What Are Its Benefits

Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA Experience: 3 years

Parsva – Side, Uttana – Intense stretch, Asana – Pose; Pronounced As – parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-anna

Being partly a forward bend and partly a balancing pose, this asana is a mid-way pose between Parivrtta Trikonasana and Utthita Trikonasana. This asana is called the Intense Side Stretch in English. It is also popularly called the Pyramid Pose because it resembles a pyramid.

Everything You Need To Know About The Parsvottanasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
  2. How To Do The Parsvottanasana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tip
  5. Advanced Pose Variation
  6. The Benefits Of The Pyramid Pose
  7. The Science Behind The Parsvottanasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana

Like the other yoga asanas, it is essential that your stomach and bowels are empty when you practice the asana. Make sure there is a gap of at least four to six hours between your meal and practice. This will give you enough time to digest your food and generate energy for your practice.

Also, mornings are ideal to practice yoga. But, in the event you cannot practice yoga in the morning, evenings are a good time too.

Level: Basic
Style: Vinyasa Flow
Duration: 30 seconds
Repetition: Once on each side
Stretches: Vertebral column, Hips, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Wrists
Strengthens: Legs

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How To Do The Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose)

  1. To begin this asana, you need to assume the Virabhadrasana I. For this, make sure you place one leg forward, and the other behind you. Put your hands on your hips, and straighten the leg that is in front of you. Square your hips so that the hip bones are parallel to the front of your mat.
  1. Inhale and lengthen the torso. Then, exhale, and fold your torso in front of you, beginning at the hips. Remember, your hips must still be square. When your torso is parallel to the floor, stop bending. In this position, your right hip will tend to pull forward. Make sure it is drawn back and is always in line with the left hip.
  1. Continue to lengthen your spine. Then, hold the pose for a few seconds. If you have been doing this pose regularly and find yourself flexible enough, you can fold deeply towards the leg placed forward, and touch your fingertips to the floor.
  1. Release by gently lifting up, and placing your hands on your hips again while you inhale. Repeat the pose with the other leg in front.

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Precautions And Contraindications

These are a few points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.

  1. If you have high blood pressure or a back injury, you must do the Ardha Parsvottanasana.
  1. Avoid doing this asana if you are pregnant, or if you have an injury in your hamstring.

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Beginner’s Tips

As beginners, you might not be flexible enough to take your hands to the ground; you might not be able to press them behind your back as well. To solve this problem, you can cross your arms behind your back, ensuring they are placed parallel to your waist. You can then hold each elbow with the opposite hand. Just remember that when the right foot is in front, your right arm is placed around the back, and when the left foot is in front, the left arm is placed around the back first.

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Advanced Pose Alterations

To intensify the pose, you must twist the torso, and bring the midline of the torso over the midline of the front thigh.

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The Benefits Of The Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

These are some amazing benefits of Parsvottanasana.

  1. It relaxes and calms the brain.
  1. It gives the shoulders, spine, wrists, hamstrings, and hips a good stretch.
  1. The legs become strong.
  1. It massages the abdominal organs.
  1. It helps improve the body posture, and also maintains a sense of balance in your body.
  1. It improves digestion.
  1. It also stimulates the reproductive organs and reduces menstrual and menopausal symptoms.

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The Science Behind The Parsvottanasana

When you build a good foundation while you align in the Parsvottanasana, you will learn to develop a sense of freedom. When you practice this asana and fold forward towards a low baseline, the familiar feeling is the fear of falling. But it is this fear that will make you lose the alignment of the outer body and build tension in your inner body. The boundaries and structure of this alignment and the muscular action that you assume through this asana will allow you to fall into the pose deeply and safely, allowing you more freedom of movement. It is ironic that as you create defined boundaries in this pose, you will be free.

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Preparatory Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Anjali Mudra
Baddha Konasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Utthita Trikonasana

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Follow-Up Poses

Pincha Mayurasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
Salamba Sarvangasana
Salamba Sirsasana
Virabhadrasana I

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Now that you know how to do pyramid pose, what are you waiting for? Dive into the goodness of this asana, and feel revived and rejuvenated. All it takes is a leap of faith!

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Shirin Mehdi

Shirin MehdiHealth & Wellness Writer


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