How to do the Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Pyramid Pose is performed with your hands placed on the floor.
Name in Sanskrit: Parsvottanasana
- Relaxes the brain
- Puts a Stretch in the shoulders, wrists, hips, spine and hamstrings
- Strengthens your legs
- Stimulates the organs in the abdomen
- Improves your balance and posture
- Improves digestion
Avoid doing a full forward bend if you have an injury in your back or if you have high blood pressure; instead try Ardha Parsvottanasana.
Perform the first and second steps as described below, a few feet from a wall, facing it. On an exhale, lower the torso until it is parallel to the floor, then stretch your hands out and touch the wall.
Push your palms into the wall (with the elbows extended fuly, keeping the front of your torso longer than the back.
HOW TO PRACTICE THIS ASANA
Stand in the Tadasana pose. On an exhale, step your feet about 4 feet apart. Place your hands onto your hips.
Turn your right foot out about 90 degrees to the right and your left foot 45 to 60 degrees in. Align the heel of your right foot with your left heel.
Firm the thighs and turn the right thigh out, such that the centers of your right ankle and knee cap are in line with each other.
With an exhalation, rotate the torso towards the right, keeping your pelvis squared with the front of the mat as much as is possible.
As your left hip turns forward, push the head of your left thigh bone back. This ensures your back heel stays grounded. Simulate squeezing a yoga block between your thighs by pressing the outer thighs inwards.
Firm your shoulder blades against the back of your torso, lengthening your coccyx to the floor. Arch the upper back slightly.
On the next exhale, lean your torso forward at the hips over your right leg. When your torso is parallel to the floor, hold this position.
With your hands on either side of your right foot, push your fingertips into the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, place your hands on top of a pair of yoga blocks or on a folding chair. Press your thighs back, lengthening your torso forward by lifting the top of your sternum.
In this position, your front-leg hip will tend to rise toward your shoulder and drift to the side.
This will shorten your front-leg side. Make sure you soften your front-leg hip to the floor, away from its same-side shoulder as you continue to squeeze your outer thighs.
Firmly push the inner heel of your front foot and the base of your big toe into the floor, and lift the front-leg inner groin towards the pelvis.
Keep your head and torso aligned with the floor and hold for a couple of breaths.
Now, if you are flexile enough, lean the front of your torso towards the top of your thigh, but ensure you aren’t rounding forward from your waist to get in this position.
In time, your front torso would rest on your thigh. Hold this position for about half a minute, then rise on the next inhale by pushing firmly through the heel of your back foot and dragging your tailbone first downwards and then towards the pelvis.
Repeat the steps on the opposite side.
HOW TO DO THE PYRAMID POSE (Parsvottanasana)
There is a halfway position for your arms and hands, between having your hands placed on the floor and having them pressed together behind your back. Cross your arms behind your back, in a position parallel to your waist.
Place your hands on the opposite elbows and hold on. When it is your left leg that is forward, bring your left arm behind your back first; when it is the right leg that is forward, bring the right arm first.
If your back heel lifts as you begin bending into this position, try practicing with your heel pressed against a wall.
This way, the contact your heel makes with the wall behind you will help keep the heel grounded.
Also, you can raise the lifting heel onto a sandbag.
DEEPENING THE POSE
There are two positions for the torso in relation to the front-leg thigh in the Intense Side Stretch Pose.
Beginners should line up the midline of their torso with their front-leg’s inner thigh.
More advanced students can rotate their torso so that its midline is over the midline of their front-leg thigh.
Your partner can anchor the heads of your thighs, this will help you to ground your heels and to lengthen your spine.
Spread feet and rotate your torso. Ask your partner to loop a yoga strap round your groins, while standing behind you, in the fold at your hips, then fold over forward into the full pose.
The strap should be pulled firm by your partner, pulling the groins even deeper into your pelvis.
Then push firmly into your back heel, lengthening your spine over your front thigh.
As explained above, the full pose is done with both hands positioned behind the back.
Stand in the Tadasana pose with your hands together in front of your heart. Bend the knees a little and arch your back, hunching the shoulders.
On an exhale, rotate the arms and move them behind the back. Press your palms together and rest your thumbs on the sacrum, so that the fingers are pointing to the floor.
Now, first turn your wrists such that your fingers are pointing to your sacrum. Continue to turn them until they point to your head.
Press your pinkies against you back torso. Now, slowly slide the hands up on your back, raising and spreading the chest as they slide.
Reach as far up as you can, ideally between your scapulas and, with your pinkies press firmly against your spine. Press the palms together as much as you can .
Roll your shoulders up and then back, lengthening down towards the floor from your back armpits through to your elbows.
Now proceed with the other instructions for the intense side stretch pose.