Ashtanga Yoga Pose Explained

INTENSE SIDE STRETCH POSTURE| Parsva= Side, Uttana= Side stretch

Parsvottanasana is commonly known as the pyramid pose. It is a deceptively difficult asana that most beginners think should be as easy as pie when they see it demonstrated. However, Parsvottanasana is an enormously challenging pose for the hamstring muscles. Just give it a try and see for yourself!

Benefits of Parsvottanasana:-

Parsvottanasana massages the digestive organs and improves digestion. It also helps build flexibility in the hamstrings as it deeply challenges the hamstring muscle. Pyramid pose is also known for helping to relieve menstrual cramps.

Read below to find out how to correctly do a pyramid pose for the ashtanga primary sequence.

Begin in Samasthi position.

(1) Ekam - Inhale - Join hands in prayer position behind the back and then step your right foot less than a meter back, and turn the back foot out at an almost a 45-degree angle. Do not over exaggerate this 45-degree angle.

(2) Dve - Exhale - Square your hips by pointing the naval towards the front kneecap. Bend forward slowly and attempt to draw the nose towards the knee. Keep the spine elongated by hinging at the hips.

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

(3) Trini - Inhale - Come up slowly and turn around by simply reversing the feet).

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

(4) Chatvari - Exhale - With square hips and a straight spine slowly bend forward over the opposite leg (left leg).

(5) Pancha - Inhale - Come up slowly and jump into Samasthi at the top of your mat.

The eye-gaze, dristi, is nasagrai (tip of the nose).

Tips for Successfully Completing Parsvottanasana:

When you step your foot back, keep it much less than a meter behind you. This asana can be completed with the feet almost at half a meter distance apart. The back foot is also generally at a 45-degree angle, but having it anywhere from a 20 degree to 45-degree angle is acceptable. The front foot, of course, faces directly forward. When folding forward make sure you are hinging from the hips and keeping your legs and back straight. Focus on drawing the hands together in reverse prayer. Often, for beginners, the hands tend to float apart or only the tips of the fingers remain in contact. Draw your intention on pushing the hands together as closely and firmly as possible. Apply udayana bandha to help create a more open chest and to deepen this asana.

Modification for Parsvottanasana:-

If it is impossible to place the hands in reverse prayer pose behind the back, then grab the elbows instead behind the back. If you cannot keep your spine elongated and straight, then come higher up and do not fold as deeply. You may feel like you are in a half-way expression of this pose by floating the chest almost parallel to the mat rather than folding completely, however it is important to not only have a flat back but to have straight legs as well. Do not bend the knees.