Pyramid Pose

Definition - What does Pyramid Pose mean?

Pyramid pose, or intense side stretch pose, is a deep standing stretch that strengthens the legs and stretches the spine, hamstrings, shoulders and hips. It also improves the practitioner's sense of balance and posture.

From mountain pose, the right foot takes a big step back. The front and back heels are lined up with one another. Toes on both feet point forward and the hips are squared. The legs are straight and the spine is long. Feet should be around three to four feet apart with the back foot at about a 60 degree angle. Hands are either brought behind the back into reverse prayer (palms touching), or they hold on to opposite elbows behind the back. On an exhale, the torso folds over the front leg so the head touches the shin.

Pyramid pose is also referred to by its Sanskrit name, parsvottanasana.

Yogapedia explains Pyramid Pose

Pyramid pose improves digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs. This pose is also very beneficial for runners as it can stretch out tight calves and hamstrings before or after training.

This pose is traditionally practiced with heel-to-heel alignment and palms touching behind the back, which requires a good sense of stability and openness in the shoulders. For a less challenging variation, move the right foot slightly to the right to create a more stable foundation, then lower the fingertips down to either side of the front foot instead of bringing the hands behind the back.

There are two ways of folding the torso over the front leg. Beginners should align the midline of the torso over the inner side of the front thigh, while the more advanced students should align the midline of the torso over the midline of the front leg.

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