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Pyramid pose might seem simple, but there’s more to this asana than meets the eye. Parsvottasana means ‘intense side stretch’ — and indeed, it both requires intense focus and results in an intense stretch, especially in your hamstrings. 

This calming forward bend offers a wide number of benefits, such as:

  • Stretching and strengthening the spine
  • Improving balance and coordination 
  • Strengthening the legs
  • Improving posture
  • Stretching the shoulder and wrists
  • Calming the mind
  • Improving digestion


How to Do Pyramid

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose.
  2. Step your left foot back about three to four feet (depending on your height). Spin the left toes out at 45 degrees.
  3. Find heel-t0-heel alignment, with both hips facing forward.
  4. Inhale as you reach your arms out to the sides. Exhale as you reach your arms behind your back and clasp each elbow with the opposite hand. If your shoulders are more flexible, bring your hands into prayer position (palms pressed together with the fingers reaching to the sky). 
  5. Inhale as you draw your shoulder blades back together and lift your chest.
  6. Exhale as you fold forward over your right leg, hinging from the hips. Lead with your heart and keep your spine long.
  7. Ground down through the heel of your back foot as you gaze at your big toe. Hold for up to a minute.
  8. To release, inhale and lead with your heart as you rise. Step your back foot forward to meet the front foot in Mountain and repeat on the other side. 


More on Pyramid Pose Alignment

If the above posture feels too challenging at the moment, there are numerous variations available to you so that you can reap the benefits of Pyramid.

Tight hamstrings? Widen your stance so that your feet are hip-width rather than aligned heel-to-heel.

Tight shoulders? Instead of clasping the arms behind your back, first extend both arms to the sky and then bring them down to frame your front foot. You can also rest your arms on a black.

Back heel lifting off the floor? Try practicing against the wall to find a grounding through the back heel.

Throughout this posture, you’ll want to maintain an awareness of your:

  1. Spine: Keep a nice flat back for a long line of energy from the crown of your head to your tailbone. Avoid rounding the spine.
  2. Hips: Square them to the front of the room. Your left hip will want to open up here, so scoop it forward as you pull your right hip back (or vice versa if on the opposite side).
  3. Leg Positioning: Make sure your feet are much closer together here than in Triangle or Warrior 2. This may mean making adjustments to feel this stretch in the hamstring. Your front leg is straight, but you’re welcome to keep a little microbend in that knee to avoid locking it.


Happy Pyramid!

Regular practice will help you develop strength, balance and confidence in this posture. Haven on the Lake’s yoga instructors are always happy to talk about all things yoga and help you find you your strongest Pyramid.