How To Do Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana):
Are you looking for a yoga pose that will help you with balance, elongate your legs, lengthen your spine, and release tight hips? Introduce Pyramid Pose to your yoga practice. This standing posture provides multiple benefits and can be practiced by any level of yogi.
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Many of the postures you practice in yoga have names that resemble what you are practicing or describes what the body is doing while in the pose. In this instance, Pyramid Pose, Parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-tah-nah-sah-nah) in Sanskrit, takes the form of a pyramid.
Let’s break down how to practice this yoga posture so you can move into it safely and experience its benefits.
- Start in a standing position (Mountain Pose).
- Step your right foot forward and place it directly in front of your left foot. Make sure there are about 1.5 ft (or around 45cm) of distance between your right heel and your left set of toes. Ensure that your legs are straight. This alignment will already begin to challenge your balance.
- Raise both arms overhead to create length in your arms and spine. As you bring them down, reach behind you and form prayer hands.
- Turn your fingers upward and position your prayer hands along your mid-back. Your shoulders will naturally roll back creating good posture in your upper body.
- Slowly fold forward at your hips keeping your legs straight. Pause when your torso is parallel to the floor. Be sure to maintain a lengthened spine, keep your shoulders rolled back, and feel that your hips are aligned. To help with this balanced posture, hug your inner legs toward each other. Imagine you are holding onto an object between your thighs. This will engage your leg muscles and help you hold this standing posture.
- Do the same with the inside edges of your feet so that you feel grounded in this challenging balancing position
- If you are able, you can fold deeper; allow your chest to move closer to your front leg. This will provide more of a lengthening sensation in your hamstrings as well as strength in your hips and core.
- Hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths. Return to a neutral Mountain Pose then repeat the posture on the other side.
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Alternative Hand Positions:
Placing your hands behind you in a prayer position with your fingers pointing upward can be challenging. Here are some alternative hand positions.
As you are able, you can still bring your hands behind you in a prayer pose, but keep your fingers pointing down. Another method is to simply hold onto your forearms behind you while folding into Pyramid Pose.
In all these cases, be sure to roll your shoulders back for good posture then fold forward over your front leg.
Use of Props:
Because this is a balancing pose, you can use props to help you hold this position for better stability. Place two yoga blocks side by side on your yoga mat in front of you. As you fold forward, instead of placing your arms behind you, place your hands on the blocks to help steady yourself while you balance in Pyramid Pose. An alternative is to use a wall, table, or the back of a chair to secure your balance.
You can practice several postures beforehand to help prepare you for Pyramid Pose. Mountain Pose will help you with full body alignment and posture. Tree Pose can be practiced to assist with balance. Triangle Pose, Standing Forward Fold, and Seated Forward Fold are all postures that will provide length in your hamstrings.
Experiment with Pyramid Pose as a yoga posture that will challenge and improve your balance, strength, posture, stability, and focus.
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