Pyramid Pose or Intense Side Stretch (Parsvottanasana)

Pyramid Pose or Parsvottanasana is a great hamstring stretch the works to stabilize the hips and strengthen the inner thighs.

The Sanskrit root of the word actually translates to “intense side stretch” so this posture is also often referred to as that, too.

In this pose, the legs are set up in a style that resembles a pyramid shape (hence the name), with one foot in front of the other in a narrow stance. With the hips square, you fold over the front leg.

It is more challenging than it looks and requires a great deal of balance that many underestimate.

Pyramid Pose is a great hamstring stretch that works to stabilize the hips and strengthen the inner thighs. It will also give the calves and torso muscles a good stretch. The challenge lies in keeping the legs and spine long with proper alignment.

It can build stability and balance by having the legs separated while also inviting a sense of surrender by folding over the front leg. The entire body will feel activated. If the foundation is strong, a deep sense of letting go will follow.

How to Do Pyramid Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

From Mountain Pose, step your left foot about 2.5-3 feet behind you. Turn the back toes on a 45 degree angle and press the heel down into the floor. Draw the right back and press the left hip forward to square the hips to the front of your mat. Keep the legs straight.

Step 2

Inhale to reach your arms up to the sky. As you exhale, fold forward from the hips and place the hands on either side of the foot.

Step 3

Hug the inner thighs into the center and draw the thighs upward for support. Spine is long, shoulders are in, and the left shoulder should be in line with the right.

Step 4

Stay for 5 breaths and inhale to rise up.

Pyramid Pose Benefits

  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, back, and side body
  • Strengthens the inner thighs, legs, and core
  • Improves balance
  • Stabilizes the hips
  • Relaxes the mind
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