Pyramid Stretch (Pose of Siva) - Parsvottanasana

Parsvottanasana -
(Pyramid Stretch - Pose of Siva)

(parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-anna)
parsva = side, flank
ut = intense
tan = to stretch or extend

This yoga pose is exercised often in practice of the Warrior Poses, creating balance and strength. Siva mourned for Sati, and he pulled at his hair and destroyed, then meditated. The beginning of the pose resembles the Siva with his matted hair in remembrance of that power.

 


Benefits

Calms the brain

Stretches the spine, shoulders and wrists (in the full pose), hips, and hamstrings

Strengthens the legs

Stimulates the abdominal organs

Improves posture and sense of balance

Improves digestion

Contraindications/Cautions

For back injury or problems and high blood pressure, place your palms to a wall or firm surface. This will help to align the spine. Do not extend into a full forward bend.

Performing the Asana

Begin in Mountain. Bring your right foot 3½ to 4 behind your left foot. Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right foot arch with the left heel. Strengthen your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

Exhale and rotate your torso slightly to the leg behind as you lower forward. Square your hips. Lengthen from the tail bone through the spine and press firmly into your front heel. The shoulder blades press inwards towards the center point of the back.

Bring the torso parallel to the floor. You may support your torso by placing your palms to your shin or a block. Relax the front leg hip to avoid a pull towards your shoulder. Focus on the slight contraction of the lower abdomen.

Hold this pose for three complete breaths. Release by a lift through the chest on inhalation and bringing the tail bone to a neutral position.

Anatomical Focus

Mind/Brain

Hamstrings

Shoulders

Wrists

Spine

Therapeutic Applications

Flat feet

Spinal Alignment

Modify Your Practice


You may support your torso by placing your palms to your shin or a block.

Complimentary Yoga Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Anjali Mudra
Baddha Konasana
Gomukhasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
Supta Baddha Konasana
Uttanasana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Vrksasana

Deepen the Pose

Extend or walk the palms down towards your ankles for a complete forward bend.