Intense side stretch pose or Pyramid pose (Parsvottanasana)
Intense side stretch is also known as pyramid pose or intense flank pose and it’s Sanskrit name is Parsvottanasa. It is level one pose, which is beginner’s pose. The pyramid pose stretches both the sides of body equally. And at the same time pyramid pose stretches each sides separately. The preparatory poses for pyramid pose are such as Extended side angle pose(parsvokanasana), the triangle pose(trikonasana). cobbler’s or bound angle pose (baddha konasana). Cow face pose (gomukhasana). Standing forward bend (uttanasana). Downward facing dog (adho mukh svanasana), tree pose (vraksasana).
- Stand in mountain pose (tadasana) with your arms at your sides. Turn to your right and step your right foot about 3-4 feet apart. Place your hands on your hips. Align your heels.
- Turn your right foot about 90 degrees so the toes point to the top of the mat. Point your left toes at the top-left corner of your mat, turned 60 degrees. In this scissored stance, your feet should be hip width apart.
- Keep your feet in the same position and turn your entire torso towards right side. Keep your weight evenly through the outer edge of your back foot and the big toe of your front foot.
- Draw your left hip slightly forward, squaring your hips to the top of the mat. Draw your shoulder blades firmly into your back.
- Inhale and reach your arms out to the sides. Exhale and reach your arms behind your back. If your shoulders are enough flexible you can bend your hands into reverse prayer pose. Press your palm together and reach your fingers towards your head.
- Inhale and elongate your torso. Exhale and bend towards your right leg. Keep your shoulder back but do not over-arch the low back. Maintain the length of your spine. Ensure that you fold from your hip not the waist.
- Ground down through the heel of your back foot, and gaze at your front big toe.
- You can also bring your hands down along with your torso and touch or press the ground by your palms instead of keeping them in reverse prayer position behind your back.
- Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds in the beginning.
- To release the pose press firmly through your back heels and lift your torso slowly. Release your hands and keep your palms on your hips. Now change the position of your feet and repeat the same on opposite side.
- The intense side stretch pose is very effective in balancing and full body coordination. It calms the mind and improves posture.
- It stretches the spine, chest and hips.
- It also stretches the hamstrings and shoulders.
- This pose stimulates the abdominal organs which improves digestion.
- It is also therapeutic for flat feet.
- If you have hamstrings injury then you should not practice this pose.
- If you have injury in your shoulders or wrists then do not bend your hands in reverse prayer position. Just bring them down along with your torso and keep your palm either on block or on the ground.
- Pregnant women or those who have high blood pressure or back injury can practice the pose against the wall.
- If you have any serious complication in your body, consult your doctor.
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