Happy Friday yogis! In this week’s Fun Pose Friday we’ll focus on pyramid, also known as intense side stretch. Pyramid, or parsvottanasana, is a pose that requires a steady structure, which enables a deeply satisfying stretch for the legs and back.
To get into pyramid pose, face the front of your mat and step one foot back. The back foot should be placed far enough back where you can comfortably keep both legs straight. The back foot should also be turned to about a 45 degree angle (toes pointing towards the top corner of your mat) and remain flat on the floor. Position feet wide enough to square hips toward the front of the mat.
(above: Krystal rockin’ pyramid in the summer sun and Arlet demonstrating the traditional version of the pose)
Once you feel like your feet and arms are set up properly, on an exhale, hinge at the hips and begin to lower your torso. Start bringing your chest as close to the thigh as you can while still maintaining a straight spine.
To release into the pose more deeply, bring hands down to blocks or the floor, framing the front foot. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and then change sides. To come out of the pose, press into the back heel and lift up on an inhale, maintaining a straight spine.
There are several arm variations you can try in this pose:
- put both hands on the hips
- one hand on your hip and raise the other arm up toward the sky (right hand on hip means right foot forward; left hand on hip, when the left foot is forward)
- add a chest opener: grab onto opposite elbows behind the back or place hands in reverse prayer
- wanna get fancy? revolve your pyramid: if your right foot is forward, place our left hand outside of your right foot and raise the right arm up to the sky… feel good? now look up!
(above: the beautiful Daisy a.k.a. Yoga Nag pyramid’n in her civilian garb 😉 )
(above: revolve it!)
Check out the benefits of pyramid pose:
• Stretches the back, hips, and legs
• Strengthens the legs
• Helps improve posture and balance
• Stimulates digestion
• Calms the mind
(above: Lika and her brood taking a quick yoga break around a beautiful buddha garden)
Full pyramid is not recommended for anyone with high blood pressure or an injury to back. However the pose can be modified to be practiced safely with these conditions. Set your feet up in pyramid facing a few feet away from a wall. On an exhale, lower the torso so that it is parallel to the floor and actively push your hands into the wall.
Those with shoulder or wrist injuries may want to avoid doing the pose with hands in reverse prayer.
Enjoy stretching in pyramid yogis! See you on the mat!