Plow Pose
March 28, 2015
Reclining Big Toe Pose
March 28, 2015

Pyramid Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Parsvottanasana
(parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-anah)
parsa = side / ut = intense / tan = to stretch

BENEFITS

  • Lengthens the hamstring of the front leg
  • Strengthens the quadriceps
  • Improves balance and stability
  • Strengthens the entire spine; ankle, knee, and hip joints; and supportive structures of the joints

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Migraine
  • Low back pathologies
  • Ankle, knee, or hip injury
  • Shoulder injury (if taking hands behind the back)

HOW TO

  1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain pose) with feet hip-width distance apart. Step the left foot directly behind you and allow the toes to turn out at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Inhale, lift your torso out of your hips, and take a slight backbend.
  3. Exhale and fold forward from the hips, extending your torso over your right leg. Maintain a straight spine as you find your edge. Allow your gaze to settle to the floor.
  4. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  5. Exhale, draw the abdominals in, and begin to round the upper spine, drawing your crown toward your toes. Release the hands to the thigh, shin, or floor. Feel free to keep a microbend at the knee.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To exit, inhale and draw your hands to your hips while extending the spine. Press through your feet to rise and return to Tadasana. Exhale and release your arms to your sides.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

  • Rise to standing on an inhale, and sink back into the posture on an exhale.
  • Take a wider stance in the legs, slightly beyond hip-distance apart, to create a larger base of support.
  • Feel free to keep a slight bend in the knee to avoid hyperextension.
  • Place hands at the thigh, hips, or heart center.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the upper and lower spine extended and, if choosing to round, only round the upper spine.
  • Keep your hips stacked equally, side by side, engaging the front of the thighs.
  • Hinge first at the hips, and keep the abdominals drawn up and in toward the spine.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest expand and spine lengthen. On each exhale, relax the back of the front thigh and dissolve forward.

VARIATIONS

  • Place arms in Reverse Namaskar—prayer hands behind the back.
  • Clasp alternate elbows or fingers behind the back.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Hips not stacked equally
  • Back heel lifting off the floor
  • Straining the knees, low back, or hamstrings