Pyramid Pose or Parsvottanasana: Benefits and how to do it


Pyramid Pose, also known as Parsvottanasana, is a deep forward fold that lengthens the spine and stretches the hamstrings and hip muscles. Know the benefits and how to do it.

The pyramid pose, also known as Parsvottanasana, is a powerful side stretch that works on the entire body. The word “Parsvottanasana” comes from the Sanskrit language, where “parsva” means side, “ut” means intense, “tan” means to stretch, and “asana” means to pose. This yoga pose aims to draw parallels between our inner world and the external environment. It tries to embody the qualities found in nature and the elements around us. The pyramid pose is one posture that helps us tap into our strength and stability by mimicking the shape of the pyramid. It stretches and strengthens our spines, hamstrings, hips, and calves. Here’s how you perform this yoga pose and experience its potential benefits.

Pyramid pose benefits
Know the benefits of pyramid pose and how to do it. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to do the Pyramid pose?

Here’s how you do Parsvottanasana step by step as explained by yoga instructor Saurabh Bothra.

  • Step 1: Stand tall in Tadasana or Mountain pose. Feet rooted to the ground, while your spine should be lengthened and core engaged.
  • Step 2: Start by placing your left foot about 2 to 3 feet behind your right foot. You can do this pose against the wall and touch your left foot to the wall for better support if required. Both toes should be pointing forward.
  • Step 3: Align both the hips to face forward.
  • Step 4: Now take a deep breath in and lengthen your spine. Exhale and hinge at your hips, folding forward over your right leg.
  • Step 5: Place your hands behind your back in a reverse prayer position or wherever you feel comfortable (You can use a block and rest your hands on it for stability).
  • Step 6: Take slow, deep breaths and hold the position for 5 to 6 long breaths.
  • Step 7: Release the pose slowly and come back to Step 1. Repeat Steps 2 – 6 with the other leg.

Remember, everyone’s body is unique, so find the foot positioning and depth of the forward fold that feels good for you. Over time, you might feel more comfortable performing the pose.

Benefits of the Pyramid or Parsvottanasana pose

Parsvottanasana comes with a lot of benefits – both physical and mental.

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1. Improved posture: This pose stretches the spine and opens up the shoulders and chest, thus improving the overall posture.
2. Activates abdominal muscles: If you mindfully engage the core muscles while practising this pose, you will end up with strong abdominal muscles and better digestion.
3. Better blood circulation: From the legs to the back and abdomen, blood flow is boosted due to this pose.
4. Relieves stress: The deep forward bend calms the mind and releases tension, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
5. Improves focus: This pose demands concentration and balance, which helps sharpen your focus and deepen the mind-body connection.

Who should avoid the pyramid pose?

Parsvottanasana is generally beneficial for the majority of people, but there are a few instances when it might be best to modify or completely avoid this pose.

  • If you have any recent injuries related to your hamstrings, hips, or back, it’s best to avoid this pose until you are fully recovered.
  • People with uncontrollable high blood pressure might find this pose uncomfortable. They can either modify it and keep their head elevated for a gentler version of the pose or avoid it completely.
  • Pregnant women, especially in the second and third trimesters, may find it uncomfortable due to the compression on the abdomen. Modifications, such as using props for support or practising a gentler variation, can be more suitable.
Pregnancy and yoga
Pregnant women should avoid doing the Pyramid pose. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Your priority should be to listen to your body – if any stretch or pose is causing discomfort, either modify or release it slowly.

The best time to perform the pyramid pose

When it comes to practising yoga poses such as the pyramid pose, the timing may vary from person to person. For instance, some use yoga practise to awaken their body and mind and therefore prefer to do it in the morning. Others use it as a midday break to relax and relieve tension. Meanwhile, some choose to practise it in the evening as a way to prepare their body and mind for rest.

You can include a pyramid pose in your preferred yoga practice timing – whenever it feels right for you and your body. Whether it’s to energise, unwind, or prepare for other activities, listen to your body’s signals and practice at a time that supports your well-being and comfort. It is ideal to make practising yoga a habit that you can follow every day.

However, a single yoga pose might not be as effective as a daily yoga routine. Make sure you practise yoga on an empty stomach before starting any sequence, says the expert.

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